HC Deb 01 December 1938 vol 342 cc571-2
21. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been directed to page 63 of the 1937 annual report of the Chief Inspector of Factories, to the high percentage affected in the pottery industry; what administrative action has been taken since the new Act came into operation; and what further action is it intended to take?

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)

The statistical table referred to shows that a large number of deaths from silicosis occurred in the pottery industry over the period 1930–37. As the hon. Member knows, however, the disease generally develops over a long period of years—it appears from the table that in fatal cases in this industry, the average duration of employment was roughly 40 years. These cases cannot, therefore, be taken as an index to present conditions which, I am advised, have, in recent years, greatly improved. As regards the future, the most important development appears to be the substitution, where practicable of non-siliceous material. This is progressing satisfactorily and is being actively encouraged by the Department. Another special step contemplated is a conference between the Chief Inspector and representatives of employers and workers to review the conditions in the Earthenware Tile Trade; and the position in the industry generally will continue to receive close attention.