§ 25. Mr. Meacher
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will introduce regulations requiring the fitting of dust extraction plant in grain stores, dryers, milling sheds and any other agricultural premises where dust presents a hazard.
§ Mr. Peter Mills
I believe that the road to greater safeguards here lies more through education than regulation, and this is the approach we are adopting. I can also assure the hon. Member that the problems posed by this and other farm safety hazards are kept under continuous review, in consultation with the medical and other research councils.
§ Mr. Meacher
That reply is quite inadequate. Is the Minister aware that 20 mortality statistics in the rural areas show a wholly disproportionate death rate from bronchitis and emphysema and that the only reason is that the Minister is so ignorant of the situation that he refuses to classify those as prescribed diseases? Will the Minister install dust extraction plants instead of using this circular method of reasoning as justification for complacency?
§ Mr. Mills
I do not accept the allegations that the hon. Member has made. We well understand the problems and we take them seriously. They are kept under constant review with the Medical Research Council. It is important to get farm workers and farmers through education to realise that they must use masks. This is a very difficult and important subject.
§ 28. Mr. Meacher
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will take steps to require the wearing of suitable masks in all cases of specified dust hazards, and that such masks should conform to the appropriate British Standards Institution standard.
§ Mr. Meacher
And the answer is equally inadequate. Will the Minister carry out what the last Government agreed to, namely, that the provision of proper dust extraction procedures be made a condition of grant aid in the support system?