HC Deb 07 March 1960 vol 619 cc31-2
43. Dr. Stross

asked the Minister of Labour how many visits were made in 1959 by factory inspectors to building operation sites and to works of engineering construction; how many of these inspectors had recognised technical or professional qualifications in building construction or civil engineering; and how many visits by such qualified inspectors were made in 1959 to building operations and works of engineering construction.

Mr. P. Thomas

Thirty-two thousand, seven hundred and eighty-one visits were made to building sites and 1,718 visits to works of engineering construction. Eleven of the visiting inspectors had recognised professional, technical or equivalent academic qualifications, and 551 of the visits to building sites and 43 of the visits to works of engineering construction were made by them.

Dr. Stross

Has the Parliamentary Secretary noted from his Answer that it is apparent that only a small proportion of the visits were made by inspectors who were technically or professionally qualified? Is not that unsatisfactory, in view of the changes which are occurring in building construction and civil engineering works? They are becoming very much more dangerous to the men who are at work. May we have an assurance on the lines of my last Question that we shall have more inspectors who are fully trained for this type of work?

Mr. Thomas

Experience of the present system shows that the great proportion of building work and much civil engineering work can be inspected effectively by experienced inspectors with knowledge of the Regulations and their practical application. Qualification by membership of a professional institution is not necessary for this work. It may be, however, that more specialisation on it in the general inspectorate would be desirable, and this is being considered

Mr. Prentice

Is it a fact that accidents in building and in constructional engineering are still increasing, although industrial accidents generally are decreasing? In view of that, is it not urgent to consider the need for more inspectors with the technical and professional qualifications to which my hon Friend referred?

Mr. Thomas

I think that it is very important to consider all aspects of safety in the building and civil engineering industries.