HC Deb 14 April 1959 vol 603 cc868-9
Mr Wood

I beg to move, in page 2, line 1, to leave out "plank ".

I want to assure the House that there is no sinister significance in our proposal to omit the word "plank ". This will, as the House will probably realize, bring the wording of the Clause into line with that of Section 25 of the Factories Act. The word "plank " crept into the original Clause for some undefined reason. The omission of it would strengthen the Clause because the provisions of Section 25 of the 1937 Act would then be more widely applicable.

I am sure that the House will be familiar with the case of Hosking v. De Havilland Aircraft Co. Ltd. (1949), in which it decided that a plank laid across a duct by workmen, and used by them as a way across the duct, was a " gangway ". I hope, therefore, that the Amendment will not give rise to any difficulty. There is a further practical objection to the word "plank ". As there is a standard 9 in. plank it is incongruous to talk of a plank which could be 18 in. wide.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 2, line 2, after " placed ", insert " above".—[Mr.Wood.]

Mr. Wood

I beg to move, in page 2, line 12, at the end to insert: (IC) For the purposes of this section a ladder, stair, or gangway shall not be deemed to be securely fenced unless it is provided either with sheet fencing or with an upper and a lower rail and toe boards. There was considerable discussion in Committee about this point, and hon. Gentlemen on both sides expressed the view that the existing protection was insufficient, particularly for the worker who might be walking across a gangway. He might slip and lose his foothold and be in danger of sliding under the rail into a dangerous substance below. We therefore suggest that there should be this additional protection either by fencing with solid sheet fencing, or by having two rails, with toe boards at the bottom.

Mr MacDermot

I am sure that the House will welcome the Amendment. What it has done is to borrow from the experience gained under the building regulations. The Amendment prescribes with some particularity the secure fencing required in these cases in which there are very high risks indeed, namely, the risk of people falling into vats or pits containing dangerous, corrosive or poisonous liquids and matters of that kind.

Amendment agreed to.