HC Deb 12 April 1965 vol 710 cc938-9
20. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Minister of Labour why the revised Woodworking Machinery Regulations, requested in March, 1963, and stated to be under consideration in May, 1963, have not yet been published.

Mr. Thornton

The revision of the 1922 Woodworking Machinery Regulations is a substantial task and has raised a number of difficult problems which have delayed the circulation of a preliminary draft to interested organisations. However, a considerable amount of work has been done, and my right hon. Friend hopes to circulate a draft later this year.

Mr. Allaun

Even so, is not three years intolerably long, particularly in view of the Minister's declared wish to see technological advance?

Mr. Thornton

I do not think that the period is quite as long as three years. I agree that a very long time has elapsed, but I would point out that this is a major revision of regulations, and as such is a very big task indeed. It goes much further than the request of the unions, which wanted the regulations with regard to health and welfare dealt with. This revision also goes very far in the direction of laying down further safeguards against very dangerous machinery.

Mr. Heffer

Would not my hon. Friend agree to bring in some interim report, particularly in relation to the actual question of the safety of woodworking machinery, which causes a great deal of concern among the operatives in the industry?

Mr. Thornton

The revision of these regulations has thrown up many complex legal and technical problems. I share my hon. Friend's concern, and he may be assured that the draft regulations will be issued as early as possible.