HC Deb 19 November 1962 vol 667 cc808-10
24. Mr. Hayman

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make a statement on the effectiveness of the working of the Agriculture (Safety, Health and Welfare Provisions) Act, 1956; and what proposals he has in mind for further regulations under that Act.

Mr. Soames

While there has recently been a welcome reduction in the number of deaths from farm accidents, more experience is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn about the success of measures taken under the Agriculture (Safety, Health and Welfare Provisions) Act, 1956, in reducing accidents. I believe the Regulations and their enforcement by my Department will help in this way, but the active co-operation of everyone connected with farming is needed to make the safety code effective.

We have already made Regulations for the guarding of nearly all machinery used on farms and are now considering proposals for regulations on brakes.

Mr. Hayman

Will the Minister bear in mind that, despite what he has said, according to his Department's Report on Safety, Health, Welfare and Wages in Agriculture to 30th September, 1961, it appears that in 1960–61 fatal accidents with tractors numbered 64, including five children under the age of 15, compared with only 40 in the previous year? Does not the Minister regard this as something really serious?

Mr. Soames

The Orders and Regulations have been brought in over a period of time and a lot of them cannot become effective until we have given the industry time to bring in all the necessary safeguards on existing machinery. My figures are that fatal accidents on farms in England and Wales during the year ended 30th September, 1961, were 138 and to 30th September, 1962, 119. I agree that this figure is not significantly lower than it was some years back, but I hope that the hon. Member will bear in mind that it will take time for all the Orders and Regulations to come into effective operation.

Sir H. Legge-Bourke

Will my right hon. Friend consider getting in touch with the National Agricultural Advisory Service in the Isle of Ely and surrounding areas and see whether other parts of the country could follow up the excellent series of exhibitions and propaganda which has been produced by this body with a view to bringing home to everybody the intention of the Regulations?

Mr. Soames

We are extending those demonstrations. They have taken place throughout the whole country and were not limited to the Isle of Ely. If, however, there were any features of special significance from the Isle of Ely which my hon. Friend thinks were of special help, I will, of course, take note of them.