HL Deb 24 June 1856 vol 142 cc1893-4

House in Committee (according to Order).

On Clause 4,


remarking that the words of the clause were doubtful, asked whether it was intended to continue to males above eighteen years of age the same protection which they enjoyed under the existing Act? The present clause appeared to limit the protection to females and young children. Now, he (the Earl of Shaftesbury) thought that no class was more exposed to injury from mill-gearing than this class of half grownup lads. He thought that the vague and indefinite manner in which horizontal machinery was mentioned would lead to confusion and dispute. It would be far better to introduce words to the effect that all such machinery should be not less than seven feet from the floor.


observed, that the Bill did not touch machinery at all. Its sole object was to place mill-gearing on the same footing as machinery. In many of the older factories a large portion of the horizontal machinery was at a less height than seven feet from the floor, and yet it was perfectly secure. He did not think, therefore, that there was any necessity for enacting that such machinery should in all cases be seven feet from the floor; and he might remind their Lordships that the words in the Bill relating to horizontal shafting were introduced after mature deliberation, and with the sanction and approval of the Home Secretary. The Bill would not deprive male adults of any real protection which they enjoyed under the present Act. The effect of the Bill as a whole was, that it relieved the manufacturer from fencing that portion of his gearing which young persons were not liable to approach, and which the inspector had not declared to be dangerous; while, on the other hand, it extended to mill-gearing the penalties for non-compliance with the Act which now applied to machinery only. It also gave to workmen the liberty of bringing an action for any accident caused by the gearing or machinery, and it provided that penalties might be inflicted for non-compliance with the Act, whether an accident occurred or not. The terms of the clause had been arranged between the manufacturers and the Secretary of State; and therefore it would not be altered by their Lordships.

Bill reported, without Amendment, and Bill to be read 3a on Friday next.