HC Deb 14 March 1979 vol 964 c448
24. Mr. Cryer

asked the Lord Advocate if he will make a statement on the decision in the case of R. W. McConnachie v. Danckarts Woodworking Machinery Ltd.

The Lord Advocate (Mr. Ronald King Murray)

The defects giving rise to the charges in the case were identified while the machinery in question was being tested in the course of installation. The court held that, in the circumstances, the machinery was not being used within the meaning of the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974. Accordingly no offences had occurred.

Mr. Cryer

Will my right hon. and learned Friend express concern about that decision? Is not the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act designed to improve and maintain safety? Is not the Lord Advocate worried that such a decision may breach the absolute provisions of section 14 of the Factories Act 1961? Has he any recommendations to make to the Health and Safety Commission to see that this possible loophope is stopped up and to ensure that existing safety standards are maintained?

The Lord Advocate

I agree that it is a matter of concern to discover that this section does not appear to apply to the particular case. My view is that the import of machinery which does not comply with United Kingdom safety standards should be deplored.

The case puts in question whether our safety legislation should be strengthened to prevent such machinery from being imported, sold or installed. I shall draw this matter to the attention of my ministerial colleagues.