HC Deb 02 November 1959 vol 612 cc649-51
16. Dr. Stross

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that the Survey of the Pottery Industry, published in 1959, has demonstrated that there are considerable health hazards in some of the processes; and what action has been taken to reduce the incidence of pneumoconiosis and dermatitis, and to promote the health and welfare of pottery workers generally.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Mr. Peter Thomas)

Yes, Sir. The outstanding problems indicated in the Report are under examination by the Joint Standing Committee of the Pottery Industry, to which the Report has been referred. The Factory Inspectorate is following up particular cases in the ordinary way to secure improvements.

Dr. Stross

First, may I congratulate the Parliamentary Secretary on his important appointment and wish him well? Secondly, is he aware that the Committee which has been formed on the initiative of the Factory Inspectorate, which we all very much favour, nonetheless may not have all the control it should have over such factories as are not in the federation? Will he promise us that if we bring to his notice that there are factories which are not up-to-date, or are not keeping up-to-date and carrying out the general views of the Committee, he will, through his Department, try to take action?

Mr. Thomas

The actions by the subcommittee in regard to the problem generally is in addition to the continuing action of the Factory Inspectorate in particular cases. The visits made by the inspectors making the survey not only provided the information used in the preparation of the Report, but they have been followed up in the ordinary way by action to secure improvements in particular factories.

17. Dr. Stross

asked the Minister of Labour how many cases of lead poisoning have been diagnosed in the pottery industry since 1952; and whether he will give details of the process involved in any recent case.

Mr. P. Thomas

Two cases have been notified, both in 1958. Full details are given in the Annual Report of the Chief Inspector of Factories on Industrial Health for that year.

Dr. Stross

Does the Minister agree that two cases are two cases too many, and that we had begun to assume that this dangerous and insidious form of poisoning had disappeared for ever, at least from the pottery industry? Will he bear in mind that every effort must be made to see that we are permanently freed from something which at one time was a most serious scourge upon the industry?

Mr. Thomas

Yes, Sir.

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