HC Deb 01 May 1950 vol 474 cc1404-5
36. Mr. William Elwyn Jones

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether the technological investigation recommended to be made by the Report of the Welsh Slate Quarry Industry Committee in September, 1946, with the view to reducing the incidence of dust in slate mines and in the sheds, has now been completed; and whether he is in a position to issue a report thereon

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Experiments with improved methods of dust suppression have been going on for some time at selected slate-dressing sheds at mines and quarries in North Wales. His Majesty's Inspectors of Mines and the owners of mines and quarries have given their full co-operation. The results have been satisfactory so far as they have gone, and similar improved methods are now being progressively installed in other sheds where they are required. Underground, the suppression of dust, particularly in the case of mechanical drilling, is the subject of special rules, the strict observance of which receives the close attention of the Inspectors. There is, as the scheme progresses, periodic consultation with the industry on the matter both with the owners and with the men. For this reason it has not been considered necessary to publish a further report.

Mr. Elwyn Jones

While thanking the Minister for his reply, might I ask him to take steps to try to expedite the installation of dust suppression apparatus in these mines and quarries?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Yes, Sir. If my hon. Friend will write to me about it I certainly will.

Mr. Emrys Roberts

Is the Minister aware that the incidence of silicosis is still widespread in the slate-mining industry, and that the men really do fear it; and is his Department really tackling its prevention as an urgent matter?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Yes, Sir, absolutely. We regard the prevention of dust disease as among the very first objectives in all quarrying and mining.