HC Deb 13 December 1955 vol 547 cc994-5
36. Mr. Moody

asked the Minister of Labour the number of inspectors delegated to watch and advise on the operation of the Regulations to avoid accidents in the building and civil engineering industry; what increase there has been in their number during the past twelve months; and if he is satisfied that the number is adequate in view of the number of accidents that have occurred during the past twelve months.

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

The provisions of the Factories Acts and the Regulations applying to building and civil engineering are enforced by the members of the general inspectorate as part of their normal duties. Approximately thirty inspectors have received special instruction on the Building Regulations and, where possible, these deal with the more important operations. Twelve inspectors were added to the strength of the inspectorate following the making of the Building Regulations and no further increase has been made in the past twelve months. I think the present arrangements are proving satisfactory.

Mr. Moody

While thanking the Minister for his reply, may I ask whether he is aware that at the annual meeting of the Amalgamated Society of Wood Workers, the question of accidents in the building and civil engineering trades occupied a large part of the time of the conference, and we were very much distressed at the increased number of accidents? A resolution was unanimously carried deploring the shortage in the number of inspectors. Will the hon. Gentleman look again at this matter, because people in the trade who have firsthand knowledge believe that the inspectorate is still short in numbers?

Mr. Watkinson

I quite understand the hon. Member's interest, which I share, but the inspectorate is only ten under strength.

I have looked at, and could send the hon. Member a copy if he wishes, the latest list of notified accidents. While I agree that there are always too many accidents, the figures do not show a large increase. The difficulty may arise from greater mechanisation. If the hon. Member would like to talk about that at any time, I shall be pleased to discuss it with him.

Mr. Moody

While I appreciate the Minister's efforts to assist us, this is such a serious matter concerning the building trade that I give notice that I shall raise it on the Adjournment at the first opportunity.