HC Deb 14 April 1953 vol 514 cc2-3
1. Mr. Janner

asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the fact that every year about 1,500 are killed and there are seldom less than 60,000 people away at any one time through industrial accidents, he will take steps in conjunction with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents to deal further with this position, and to take the necessary precautions to reduce the accident rate.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Mr. Harold Watkinson)

The factory inspectorate work in very close co-operation with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents in promoting safety precautions and the avoidance of unnecessarily dangerous practices. They also give many lectures on safety matters to interested bodies, including trades councils and trade union meetings. For fuller information as to the action taken, I would refer the hon. Member to the annual report on the work of the Department published last month.

Mr. Janner

I have seen the annual report; but is the hon. Gentleman aware that these accidents are costing the country something like £70 million a year by way of lost production? Will he consult with the Treasury to see whether they will restore to this Society the sum that they were receiving before or give them a larger sum in order that they may cope with the position?

Mr. Watkinson

The answer to that is that the rate per 1,000 employees of unavoidable accidents is falling progressively. It fell between 1944 and 1951 from 40 in 1944 to 23 in 1951.

Mr. H. Nicholls

Could my hon. Friend say if he has yet had the result of the inquiry into the establishment of the factory inspectorate, and if he has not will he speed up the report so as to get something on the move?

Mr. Watkinson

Yes. I know the interest my hon. Friend has taken in this matter, and I am glad to tell him that there is only one vacancy left in the basic grade of factory inspector.

Mr. Malcolm MacPherson

Although the rate has improved, is it not a fact that there are some individual industries which are still black spots? Has not the iron foundry industry an almost unenviable record in this connection, and will the hon. Gentleman consider the possibility of selecting individual industries for consideration to supplement the general campaign in industry as a whole?

Mr. Watkinson

I will look into that.