HC Deb 02 March 1972 vol 832 cc720-1
5. Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will now introduce legislation to control noise levels in factories and other places of work.

Mr. R. Carr

My Industrial Health Advisory Committee is meeting on 14th March to consider, among other matters, a draft code of practice for reducing the exposure of employed persons to noise.

Mr. McNair-Wilson

I thank my right hon. Friend for that most encouraging answer. May I draw his attention to the new evidence of damage to hearing which is apparently much more widespread among those who have to work in certain manufacturing industries, and may I impress upon him the need to have properly silenced equipment and other noise suppressing devices in industrial environments?

Mr. Carr

I agree that this is a most important matter and we in this country and, no doubt, people in other industrial countries have been rather slow in dealing with it. I will do all I can to see that it is taken very seriously.

Dr. Stuttaford

Will the new Employment Medical Advisory Services Bill help in controlling the problem of damage caused by noise?

Mr. Carr

I hope so, because the underlying idea behind it is that we should have a medical service available for advising industry in future and investigating problems of this kind. I certainly hope it will contribute to solving the problem.

Mr. Harold Walker

I welcome the fact that the Industrial Health Advisory Committee is to look at what the Minister has drawn to its attention. Is he aware, however, that this does not go far enough? In the light of the recent court judgment when a precedent was set, a worker was awarded very substantial damages for what is now being classed by the court as industrial deafness. Does not this precedent establish a very powerful case for the Government to classify industrial deafness as an industrial injury?

Mr. Carr

This may be an important matter but, as the hon. Member knows, it is a matter not for me but for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services. I will draw his attention to what has been said.