HC Deb 16 June 1937 vol 325 cc449-50

7.32 p.m.

Mr. Lloyd

I beg to move, in page 21, to leave out lines 7 to 13.

I am sorry, after the courteous way in which hon. Members have behaved in regard to the last Amendment, that I still have to appear in the role of moving another exemption. I think, however, I shall satisfy the House because it is a purely technical matter. We want to have the power for the Chief Inspector to give exemption in regard to Subsection (4) as well as Sub-section (3). Under Sub-section (4) no plant containing inflammable substance shall be subjected to any welding operation until all practical steps have been taken to remove the substance and any fumes arising therefrom, or to render them non-explosive or non-inflammable. It appears that welding operations are and may be carried on on gasholders, and on similar plant safely even if the holder is full of gas. The difficulty we have found is that there would be an actual increase of danger if an attempt were made to empty the gasholder before the welding operations took place. It is a point which will be familiar to anyone who is trained in chemistry that the real danger arises when you get a mixture of gas and air.

Mr. Gibbins

Surely the danger arises through the possibility of penetrating the tank rather than by the mixture of gas and air outside? I have done some electrical welding, and if the tank has worn thin, the moment you strike a hammer on to it there is a danger of it penetrating the tank and allowing the gas to come outside and meeting the spark created by the electrical contact.

Mr. Lloyd

I am l0th to follow the hon. Gentleman in too much technical detail, because in these matters I must take the advice of the Home Office technical experts. I should have thought, having once been trained as a chemist, that the danger would not have been on the outside, but from air being able to go in through the fissure in the tank and creating an explosive mixture inside. I do not think, however, that we had better carry this discussion much further. I think that I might reasonably ask the House to accept the assurance of the Home Office experts that we want to perfect something that will actually cause a decrease of danger.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 21, line 27, at the end, insert: (5) The chief inspector may by certificate grant, subject to any conditions specified in the certificate, exemption from compliance with any of the requirements of the last two foregoing subsections in any case where he is satisfied that the compliance with the requirement is unnecessary or impracticable."—[Mr. Lloyd.]