HC Deb 25 July 1938 vol 338 cc2715-6
86. Mr. David Adams

asked the Secretary for Mines what are the death rates and serious accident rates for boys under 18 working at coal mines during the past year; how he accounts for the serious accident rate among boys being higher than that among all other persons working in or about mines; and whether he can take special steps, by education and otherwise, to remedy this state of affairs?

88. Mr. Kennedy

asked the Secretary for Mines whether his attention has been drawn to the heavy rate of serious accidents to boys under 18 years of age employed in coal mines; and whether any steps are being taken to reduce the number of such accidents?

Captain Crookshank

In 1937 the fatal accident rate to persons under 18 years of age was 0.89 per 1,000 employed, and the reportable injury rate was 5.86 per 1,000. The comparable rates in respect of persons of 18 years of age and over are, for fatal accidents 1.09 per 1,000, and for reportable injuries 4.02 per 1,000. The higher injury rate in the case of boys is probably due to the very qualities of their youth and their relative lack of experience of mining conditions. I have already stated in the House the steps which are being taken to try to counteract this, and I shall continue to impress on all concerned the value of safety classes and the need for training, supervision and discipline at the pits themselves.

Mr. Adams

Will the Minister consider the desirability of making attendance at safety classes obligatory?

Captain Crookshank

That matter is dealt with in Question 85, which I have answered.

Mr. G. Griffiths

Is the Minister aware that in South Yorkshire where they have had these classes the number of accidents to boys is lower than in any other area?

Mr. Collindridge

Will the Secretary for Mines make representations to the coal-owners to the effect that these lads should be relieved during working hours in order to attend these classes, and should be compensated for any loss of remunerative time?

Captain Crookshank

We are to have a Debate covering all these questions later in the day.