§ 5 and 6. Mr. Nabarro
asked the Minister of Labour (1) whether he is aware that a fatal accident recently occurred at 749 Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, when a woman operative was scalped by the rollers and shafting of a hop-picking machine; that Her Majesty's area factory inspector expressed to the coroner conducting the inquest the view that the position of a hop-picking shed and its relation to the Factories Acts is far from clear, and that a hop-picking shed is not a factory within the meaning of the Acts; and whether he will now consider the evidence and introduce appropriate legislation;
(2) Whether he will make regulations under the Factories Acts to assure adequate guarding and fencing of hop-picking machinery and periodical inspection and advice by Her Majesty's inspectors of factories, with a view to reducing the rate of accidents.
§ Mr. Watkinson
The question of making statutory provisions relating to the use of dangerous machinery in agricultural operations was the subject of a recommendation made by the Gowers Committee on Health, Welfare and Safety in non-industrial employment and my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture is in consultation with the agricultural interests concerned. As respects the fatal accident which recently occurred at Tenbury Wells, my information indicates that the Factories Acts had no application to the use of the machinery in question, but my right hon. Friends are consulting together as to the best immediate steps which can be taken to try and prevent further accidents arising from the use of the machinery.
§ Mr. Nabarro
Would my hon. Friend bear in mind that a hop-picking machine is not a piece of machinery in the ordinary run of agricultural machines? It is a large and static machine which has to be installed in a shed, akin to the workshop which is generally catered for under the Factories Acts. Would not my hon. Friend, to prevent a repetition of this distressing accident, lay a Statutory Instrument before the House for covering only hop-picking machinery?
§ Mr. Watkinson
Before we did that, we should want rather fuller consultations with the interests concerned, but if my hon. Friend would like to come and 750 see our Chief Inspector of Factories and discuss the matter with him we should be delighted to arrange it.