HC Deb 22 April 1948 vol 449 cc1996-7
31. Major Guy Lloyd

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what action he proposes to take on the recommendation of the Deputy Chief Inspector of Mines in his recent report to him on the Durham Colliery explosion in August last, that the searching of persons for matches, lighters, etc., should be made compulsory in all mines or parts of mines in which safety lamps are used; and how many explosions of fire damp in British mines, involving how many deaths, have been due to matches, lighters, etc., during the past To years.

Mr. Robens

My right hon. Friend has this recommendation under consideration, but we are not yet in a position to make a definite statement. With regard to the second part of the Question, during the 10 years, 1938–1947 inclusive, there were 19 explosions of firedamp or coal dust, involving 65 deaths, due to matches or smoking, etc., in British mines where safety lamps are used.

Major Lloyd

Surely it is an unduly long time, from August last, to consider such an important and obvious recommendation? Why does it take all this time for the Ministry to make a sound recommendation in this matter?

Mr. Robens

There are administrative reasons which prevent a very speedy recommendation being made. It means a new regulation, and it is necessary to discuss this matter with the appropriate interests.

Mr. Thomas Brown

Will the Parliamentary Secretary consider searching men compulsorily on the surface, instead of searching them when they have descended the shaft and are at the bottom of the pit?

Mr. Rdbens

That is one of the points under consideration.