HL Deb 26 October 1954 vol 189 cc626-724

3.29 p.m.

House again in Committee.

Clause 22 [Provision of shafts and outlets in coal &c., mines]:

LORD HAWKE

I beg to move the next Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 17, line 26, leave out ("Subject to the provisions of this section").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

I beg to move the next Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 17, line 29, after ("affording") insert ("to").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 17, line 31, leave out ("on") and insert ("to").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This deals with the minimum height for communications between shafts. As the Bill stands at present, if the inspector gives an exemption there is no limit to the height and width. Under this Amendment there must be some limit for height and width, even when exemption is given.

Amendment moved— Page 17, line 44, leave out from beginning to end of line 16 on page 18 and insert:

  1. ("(a) if the Minister is satisfied that, owing to special circumstances affecting mines of coal, stratified ironstone, shale or fireclay of any class, it is inadvisable for reasons of safety or unnecessary, in the case of the communications provided as aforesaid therein or any class of those communications, for the minimum height or width, or height and width, thereof to be as great as provided by the foregoing provisions of this subsection, regulations may provide that those provisions shall have effect, in their application to those communications or that class thereof, with the substitution, for the minimum specified in the said provisions in relation to height, that so specified in relation to width or both of those minima, as the case may be, of such less minimum or minima as may be prescribed; and
  2. (b) if an inspector is satisfied that, owing to special circumstances affecting a particular mine of coal, stratified ironstone, shale or fireclay, it is inadvisable for reasons of safety or unnecessary, in the case of all or any of the communications provided as aforesaid therein, for the minimum height or width, or height and width, thereof to be as great as provided 627 by the foregoing provisions of this subsection, he may, by notice served on the manager of the mine, direct that those provisions shall have effect in their application to those communications or to such of them as may be specified in the notice, with the substitution, for the minimum specified in the said provisions in relation to height, that so specified in relation to width or both of those minima, as the case may be, of such less minimum or minima as may be specified in the notice.")—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 23, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 24 [Limitation of number of persons to be employed at coal, &c., mines in places with single exits]:

LORD HAWKE

This is drafting. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 19, line 10, leave out ("This section shall not apply to") and insert ("Nothing in this section shall apply to the employment of persons in").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 24, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 25 [Limitation on number of persons to be employed at coal, &c., mines in shafts and outlets and their insets]:

LORD HAWKE

This is one of the many places where we are substituting the word "determined" for the word "specified" in the Bill. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 19, line 24, leave out ("specified") and insert ("determined").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment is consequential. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 19, line 28, leave out ("paragraph (a) of subsection (5)") and insert ("subsection (6)").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

This is little more than a drafting Amendment. It is to make quite clear that it is not the insets to which the provisions do not apply but the employment of the persons in them. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 19, line 32, leave out ("individual insets") and insert ("the employment of persons in individual insets of a shaft or outlet.")—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 25, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 26 agreed to.

Clause 27 [Power of inspector to require provision of additional ways out from working faces in coal mines]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This Amendment is drafting. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 19, line 41, leave out ("upon") and insert ("on").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 27, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 28 [Provision of winding and haulage apparatus]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

The Amendments on Clause 28 can, with the permission of the House, be taken together. I beg to move.

Amendments moved—

Page 20, line 16, leave out ("of") and insert ("to")

Page 20, line 22, after ("case") insert (",by notice served on the manager of the mine.")

Page 20, line 33, leave out ("of") and insert ("to")

Page 20, line 39, after ("case") insert (",by notice served on the manager of the mine,").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 28, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 29 agreed to.

Clause 30:

Securing of shafts and staple-pits

30.—(1) Every mine shaft and staple-pit shall, save in so far as the natural conditions of the strata through which it passes render it unnecessary (either as to the whole or as to any part thereof) so to make it, be made secure, and shall be kept secure:

Provided that in any prosecution for a contravention of this section with respect to a shaft or staple-pit, it shall be a defence to prove that at the time of the alleged contravention no insecure part of that shaft or staple-pit was in use or was the site of any operations in progress by way of driving or extending the shaft or staple-pit.

VISCOUNT HALL moved, after the words "render it" to insert "in the opinion of the inspector." The noble Viscount said: I move this Amendment which stands in my name and that of my noble friend, Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor. This Bill, as one can see from the Amendments which are put down in your Lordships' House, had a very long Committee stage in another place, and we have been informed that the Minister there gave an undertaking that something in the nature of these words would be inserted in the Bill. Our Amendment is put down just as a reminder. It may be that the matter has been forgotten, or owing to the enormous amount of work which had to be done there, it may have been overlooked. These are the words of the Minister quoted in the OFFICIAL REPORT of the Standing Committee at col. 361: Perhaps it would help the Committee if I said that between now and Report I shall examine the possibility of putting down an Amendment which would make it clear that the shafts shall be made secure unless an inspector agrees that it is unnecessary. We think it is a reasonable Amendment. It seems to be better that the responsibility of deciding this matter should not be left at large but should be fixed upon the official who knows so much about these circumstances and in whom we have considerable confidence. We think that this Amendment is necessary and we ask the Government to accept it.

Amendment moved— Page 21, line 22, after ("it") insert ("in the opinion of the inspector").—(Viscount Hall.)

LORD SALTOUN

I have listened with great interest and a good deal of sympathy to the Amendments moved from the other side, and I would have supported their last one if the noble Earl had not said that he would consider it further. Speaking humbly and not knowing anything about mines, I say that this Amendment seems to be curious, because you are substituting a matter of opinion for a matter of fact. If anything happens which shows that the shaft was not secure, then there has been a contravention of the Act, whereas if you say "in the opinion of the inspector," you have an expression of opinion, and it seems to me that you are exonerating him from any blame for anything that occurs.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I do not think the quotation which the noble Viscount, Lord Hall, gave indicated that there was any undertaking with regard to that matter. The Minister said he would examine it. I am sure it has been examined. This clause deals with the general duty of support, and that general duty necessarily lies on those who run the mine. I hope to convince the noble Viscount, Lord Hall, that the Amendment which he has put down here is both unnecessary and undesirable. In the first place, it is unnecessary because the inspectors have the power already. Under Clause 144 we see that the inspector, if he so wishes, can demand a support of any kind to be put in the shaft which he, the inspector, considers necessary. Therefore, this is obviously a power that it is not necessary that the inspector should have.

On the other side, I would say that it is undesirable, and it is undesirable for the reason that the noble Lord, Lord Saltoun, has expressed. What would happen would be that, before those in charge of the mine made up their minds how it should be supported, they would go to the inspector and say: "Inspector, do you approve of this?" I suggest that this proposal is entirely unsatisfactory, and I will say why. The responsibility of the owner is thereby reduced. Instead of making him responsible as a matter of fact as to whether it is unnecessary, you are putting it on to the opinion of the inspector. To my mind, you are, if anything, lowering the duty laid down in the Bill. But what is more important is that you are giving the inspector thereby some measure of administrative responsibility.

The inspector's duty, if I understand it correctly, is to inspect what other people have done, not to tell the mining industry how they should run it and how they should plan their shaft before they do so. That is the responsibility of the mining engineers, the owners, the planners and so forth. When they have done it, and only after they have done it—and they do it under very strict obligations laid down in the Act—then, and then only, the inspector says: "I think it is unsatisfactory." Some people say: "You are putting the inspector too near administrative responsibility." We have endeavoured all along to avoid that. If the noble Viscount were to press this Amendment that is the position to which he would move. I should be grateful if he would withdraw it.

EARL JOWITT

I do not pose as an expert, but, as a layman, I should like to make this observation, having regard to what has fallen from the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, and from the noble Lord, Lord Saltoun. I quite understand their point of view. On the other hand, is there not this point of view? The primary obligation is to make every shaft secure, but there is a qualifying clause here— … save in so far as the natural conditions of the strata through which it passes render it unnecessary. … Is there not this danger if you do not have the Amendment: that people may leave a shaft insecure and say to themselves, quite honestly, "We thought it was not necessary, having regard to the conditions of the neighbouring strata"? They do not do it and there may be an accident. After the accident, all sorts of things may happen. From the point of view of safety would it not be better to have the absolute obligation, "You must make the shaft secure unless some specific individual, namely the inspector, says that the conditions of the strata suggest that you need not make it secure"? I suggest that gives less scope for matters of opinion. As things are to-day, a shaft may be left insecure because a man quite honestly thinks that the nature of the ground nearby does not render it necessary to secure it, and there may be an accident. I hope the noble Earl will look at the point again—that is all I am suggesting. The requirement, "You must make every shaft secure unless you get the express permission of the inspector," is, I suggest, something worth considering. The noble Earl has been very good all the way through in considering matters, and I hope he will look at that suggestion and bear it in mind.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I will certainly do that. My reading of the word "secure" indicates some physical support in that context, not in the sense of insecure. But I shall certainly have a look at this matter and see whether we can get the wording improved.

VISCOUNT HALL

Then I beg leave to withdraw this Amendment. I would point out that the staple-pits, as they are called, between one seam and another, are what we have particularly in mind in relation to this Amendment, and a great deal of difficulty can arise in those shafts.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 21, line 25, leave out ("section") and insert ("subsection").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 30, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 31 agreed to.

Clause 32 [Prevention of fall of articles down shafts and staple-pits]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 22, line 22, leave out ("section thirty-one of this Act") and insert ("the last foregoing section").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 32, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 33 agreed to.

Clause 34 [General provisions with respect to construction and maintenance of roads]:

LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR moved in subsection (1) (b), to leave out "reasonable convenience and safety" and insert "safety and reasonable convenience." The noble Lord said: I think this Amendment is self-explanatory. The word "reasonable" seems to qualify both convenience and safety. Roads are important not only on the surface but, still more so, underground. We do not want the term "safety" qualified at all where roads are concerned. Therefore, instead of the clause reading "reasonable convenience and safety," which could possibly mean "reasonable safety," we prefer that it should read "safety and reasonable convenience." I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 23, line 16, leave out ("reasonable convenience and safety") and insert ("safety and reasonable convenience").—(Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor.)

LORD HAWKE

We do not read the clause in quite the same way as the noble Lord. Quite frankly, we did not think that "safety" was qualified by the addition of "reasonable"; but our objects on both sides are precisely the same, and if it gives the noble Lord pleasure we shall be pleased to accept the Amendment.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

This is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 23, line 21, leave out ("upon") and insert ("on").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 34, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 35 [Height and width of travelling roads]:

3.45 p.m.

LORD HAWKE

Amendments Nos. 81 to 88 are drafting. I beg to move.

Amendments moved—

Page 24, line 2, at beginning insert ("particular")

Page 24, line 10, leave out ("upon") and insert ("on")

Page 24, line 13, after ("used") insert ("(hereinafter referred to as 'the specified height ')")

Page 24, line 18, leave out ("that so specified") and insert ("the specified height")

Page 24, line 24, leave out ("upon") and insert ("on")

Page 24, line 24, leave out first ("a") and insert ("the")

Page 24, line 26, at end insert ("(hereinafter referred to as 'the specified width')")

Page 24, line 31, leave out ("that so specified") and insert ("the specified width").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 35, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 36 [Prohibition of use of vehicles and conveyors in roads not affording free movement]:

LORD HAWKE

We now deal with the clause prohibiting the use of vehicles and conveyors in a place in which there is no proper room for them. We think that the word "used" at line 1 of page 25 is slightly ambiguous, because it might be held that a conveyor is not used if it is not running full; it might be held to be used only if it is full. Therefore, we are inserting the word "operated" in various places to make quite certain that we mean whenever it is in motion. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 25, line 1, leave out ("used") and insert ("operated").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

Amendments Nos. 90, 91, 92 and 93 are consequential. I beg to move.

Amendments moved—

Page 25, line 7, leave out ("use") and insert ("operation")

Page 25, line 11, leave out ("used") and insert ("operated")

Page 25, line 15, leave out ("the running of vehicles or the use of a conveyor") and insert ("vehicles to run or a conveyor to be operated")

Page 25, line 23, leave out ("use") and insert ("operation").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 36, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 37 [Transport rules]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

There are a number of Amendments to Clause 37, all of which deal with transport rules. Perhaps I may discuss together Amendments Nos. 94 to 102 and also (if I may go beyond Lord Macdonald's Amendments to the Amendment), Amendments Nos. 105 to 110. All Amendment No.94 amounts to is the correction of an error. There is laid on the manager the duty of drawing up transport rules, but there is a qualification imposed by the use of the word "specifying." In some cases he does not have to specify, he has to prohibit. The Committee will notice that we propose to insert another subsection which makes it quite clear that he may prohibit such things as riding on carriages as and when he thinks fit. There is a further difficulty, in that there may be some cases where there is nothing to specify, and the word does not apply at all—for instance, if the manager has conveyors he does not specify about vehicles; if he has man haulage it is no good his specifying about underground trains. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 25, line 39, leave out ("specifying").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

Amendments Nos. 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100 and 101 are drafting Amendments. I beg to move.

Amendments moved—

Page 25, line 40, at the beginning insert ("specifying")

Page 25, line 41, leave out ("or conveyors run") and insert ("run or conveyors are operated")

Page 25, line 42, at the beginning insert ("specifying")

Page 25, line 45, after ("vehicles") insert ("(according as to whether they are loaded or unloaded)")

Page 25, line 47, leave out from ("mine") to end of line 48.

Page 26, line 1, at the beginning insert ("specifying")

Page 26, line 3, leave out paragraph (d) and insert— ("(d) prohibiting the conveyance in roads in the mine of persons in vehicles or on conveyors except in such circumstances and in accordance with such conditions, if any, as may be specified in the rules and specifying precautions to be observed when persons are so conveyed.")—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I beg to move this Amendment, to which I have already referred.

Amendment moved—

Page 26, leave out lines 7 to 11 and insert— ("(2) The exercise by the manager of a mine of the power conferred by the foregoing subsection shall be obligatory for the purpose mentioned in paragraph (a) of that subsection and also for the purposes mentioned in paragraphs (b) to (d) thereof save in so far as an exercise of that power for those purposes could, having regard to the circumstances of the mine, serve no object, and regulations may render an exercise of that power obligatory for any other purpose for which it may be exercised.")—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

VISCOUNT HALL moved, as an Amendment to the Amendment to leave out "could" and insert "should." The noble Viscount said: We are greatly obliged to Her Majesty's Government for this Amendment, but we think it could be strengthened by the substitution of the word which I now move. In this Amendment we are dealing with one of the main causes of accidents under ground, transport vehicles and conveyors, and I would remind noble Lords of the number of accidents which occurred due to transport vehicles and conveyors during the course of last year. It is for those safety reasons that we feel the noble Earl's Amendment should be strengthened. Last year, fatal accidents under the heading of mechanical haulage, including self-acting inclines, runways, trams and couplings, totalled no fewer than 55. The reportable accidents (that is, serious accidents) numbered 450. Accidents resulting in disablement of men for more than three days due to haulage, transport, conveyors, gates and so on, were 50,500. I am sure that noble Lords, on hearing those figures, will realise how important is this Amendment. The acceptance of the two Amendments to the Amendment which stand in my name would strengthen these provisions and we therefore ask Her Majesty's Government to accept them. I beg to move.

Amendment to Amendment moved— In the proposed new subsection (2) leave out ("could ") and insert ("should").—(Viscount Hall.)

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I do not think there is any difference in our approach to the subject, but I feel that the noble Lord's Amendment is misconceived. The clause states that the manager, in exercising his duty, must make rules dealing with speeds of vehicles running, length of roads and other prohibitions. He will make them in so far as they serve any object. The noble Lord's Amendment to my Amendment appears slightly to reduce that in confining it to cases in which considerations of safety do not necessarily arise. If there is any object in it at all, if there is a vehicle there for which rules can be made, they have got to be made. The clause is intended not only to include every sort of case, whether safety or not, but all cases unless there is no point in their inclusion. There is no point in laying down speed in regard to horse-or man-drawn vehicles, if it does not arise. It arises only in the case of trams. The noble Lord, I imagine, would not lay down a speed for horse-drawn vehicles.

VISCOUNT HALL

Certainly I would. I have driven horse-drawn vehicles under the ground, and speed all depends upon the gradients. The speed at which horses with two trams behind them can travel down a grading is amazing. That is why it is necessary to have the Amendment to the Amendment for which we ask—indeed, if there were no other reason than that given by the noble Earl I should have thought that it would be accepted. The second Amendment is certainly much more understandable than the words inserted in the Amendment moved by the noble Earl. I am quite prepared, if it can be considered between now and the Report stage, to discuss the matter with the noble Earl, but there is a good deal of substance here, particularly in relation to what happens in roadways and tramways underground.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I quite appreciate the point made by the noble Viscount as to the speed of horses on a gradient, but presumably if the gradient were such as to require a limitation then rules would be made. But where there is no point in fixing limits for speed then it need not be done. My interpretation of the clause is simply that it does not require the making of a rule where it would serve no purpose. I should have thought the noble Viscount's Amendment provided a more restricted interpretation than that placed in the Bill; but if the noble Viscount wishes to discuss it I shall be delighted to do so.

VISCOUNT HALL

In view of the noble Earl's statement, I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment to the Amendment.

Amendment to the Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I beg to move Amendments Nos. 105 to 109.

Amendments moved—

Page 26, line 12, leave out ("the foregoing subsection") and insert ("subsection(1) of this section")

Page 26, line 29, leave out ("relate to the matter specified in") and insert ("have effect by virtue of")

Page 26, line 36, leave out ("or conveyors are running") and insert ("are running or conveyors are being operated")

Page 26, line 39, leave out ("relate to the matter specified in") and insert ("have effect by virtue of")

Page 27, line 8, after ("width") insert ("are").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This Amendment is to meet an undertaking given in another place dealing with transport rules to ensure that those rules are available to any person who is affected. As the Bill is drafted, it requires that all rules must be displayed everywhere, though this would serve no useful purpose. We have also changed the wording relating to places where they can be conveniently read to positions in which they can be easily seen and read by the person affected. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 27, line 33, leave out subsection (8) and insert— ("( ) A copy of all transport rules for the time being in force with respect to a mine shall be kept at the office at the mine or at such other place as may be approved by an inspector, and notices containing a summary of so much of any such rules as affect any person shall be kept posted at suitable places in the mine in such characters and in such positions as to be easily seen and read by him").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 37, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 38 agreed to.

Clause 39 [Provisions for securing safety of foot-passengers in roads]:

LORD HAWKE

We now come to the clause to secure the safety of foot travellers in mine roads. The next four Amendments deal with a doubt which arises about the clause as drafted. We intend that any gravity or mechanical haulage should stop if anybody wants to pass along the roads. There are minor exceptions, repair men and so on. It is not intended that human or pony controlled traction should stop. As the clause is drafted there is a possibility of doubt. It may be held that when hand-or pony-operated traction is going downhill it is operated by gravity and so get caught up by the clause. By our Amendments Nos. 111, 112 and 113 we, remove that doubt by definitely excluding hand-and pony-operation from the stopping rule. Amendment No. 114 is consequential, and No. 115 lists compactly, at the end of the clause, instead of at the beginning, persons for whom mechanical or gravity haulage does not have to stop. I beg to move that these Amendments be agreed to.

Amendments moved— Page 28, line 8, leave out ("by means of gravity or mechanical power") and insert ("otherwise than by hand or by animal traction (whether or not vehicles moved by those means also run therein):—")

Page 28, line 10, leave out from ("road") to end of line 18 and insert ("otherwise than by those means, no person employed at the mine (other than an authorised person)")

Page 28, line 22, after ("road") insert ("other than vehicles moved by those means")

Page 28, line 31, after ("move") insert ("otherwise than by those means")

Page 29, line 11, at end insert— ("(3) For the purposes of paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section the expression "authorised person" means, in relation to a length of road in a mine—

  1. (a)an official of the mine;
  2. (b)a person employed in connection with the running of vehicles in that length of road;
  3. 639
  4. (c) a person engaged in, or in connection with, the carrying out in that length of road of repairs which it is necessary to carry out forthwith; or
  5. (d) a person engaged in carrying out, by virtue of the provisions of this Act relating to workmen's inspections or of any such agreement as is mentioned in those provisions, an inspection at the mine.")—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 39, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 40 [Provision of refuge holes]:

4.0 p.m.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

The next Amendment is for the purpose of correcting a mistake. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 29, line 17, leave out ("less") and insert ("greater").—The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This Amendment emphasises that refuge holes can be big as well as small. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 29, line 19, leave out from ("holes") to ("complies") in line 20 and insert ("each of which is of such dimensions as may be prescribed and").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 40, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 41:

Safety measures relating to use of vehicles

41.—(1) So long as vehicles are used in a mine, there shall be provided, maintained and used, either in the mine or on the vehicles or both in the mine and on the vehicles, such safety devices as are necessary to prevent the occurrence of accidents due to vehicles so used running away; and every device provided in pursuance of this subsection shall be of a kind designed to assume automatically the position in which it operates for the purpose for which it is designed, save in a case where there is good reason for not providing a device of that kind.

VISCOUNT FURNESS moved, in subsection (1), to leave out "prevent the occurrence of accidents" and to insert: minimise the risk of the infliction of bodily injury on persons. The noble Viscount said: Clause 41 deals with safety measure relating to the use of vehicles. The purpose of this Amendment is to remove an ambiguity which it is suggested may arise owing to the use of the word "accident." Runaway switches are in common use in mines and it is feared that if this passage were allowed to stand it would not be lawful to use them, because by diverting runaway vehicles they may cause accidents in a wide sense of the term. That is to say, there may be an accident in one sense although the vehicles are diverted in such a way that they will not do bodily harm to anyone. It was never intended when the Bill was drafted, I am sure, that the words should be given this wider meaning. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 29, line 33, leave out ("prevent the occurrence of accidents") and insert ("minimise the risk of the infliction of bodily injury on persons").—(Viscount Furness.)

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This clause, as the noble Viscount has said, deals with safety measures. I am given to understand that there are some sorts of safety measures which have been devised particularly to deal with runaway trucks and they involve the diversion of such trucks on to another track or, in some cases, shooting the truck or trucks off the rails altogether. That is a method which is resorted to only in circumstances in which there is no risk of injury to people employed in the vicinity. In those circumstances, as the noble Viscount has said, you do really incur in the technical sense an accident. The real object of the devices is to prevent bodily injury, and in these circumstances I think that the words contained in the Amendment are words which may be accepted.

EARL JOWITT

I very much hope that, if only in the interests of good English, the noble Earl will not accept these words. He has got good, robust, simple English in the Bill. There are the words "prevent the occurrence of accidents." But here in this Amendment he has some most horrible words: "minimise the risk of the infliction of bodily injury on persons." The word "minimise" is one of the most unpleasant of verbs. It has, unfortunately, gained currency nowadays. I dislike it very much. This is a supreme example of circumlocution, to substitute for "prevent the occurrence of accidents" the words, "minimise the risk of the infliction of bodily injury on persons." It seems to me that the words in the Amendment are thoroughly bad from another point of view. When you are dealing with safety, with precautions for the protection of life and limb, you want an absolute standard. Here you have something which is qualified. Therefore I hope that the noble Earl will think again before he accepts this Amendment. It seems to me that it would be lowering the standard and not making the language as clear as it is in the Bill as it stands. For both those reasons I hope that the noble Earl will maintain the position which he has frequently adopted.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I am sorry about the English of this Amendment, but I think, if I may say so with respect, that the noble and learned Earl is wrong in saying that we are lowering standards. What we are concerned with here is that certain types of safety devices will in fact be made illegal. It will be impossible to operate them as the Bill now stands. In some cases, in order to prevent a truck from running away and, possibly, causing serious injury to someone, you throw it off the lines. The truck then is very likely broken and so, in a sense, there is an accident. No doubt some safety devices operate in a better way, but in some cases this is the best way the desired object can be attained. It may be that better devices will be invented; but if we leave the clause as it stands, the form of device to which I have referred will become illegal.

EARL JOWITT

Can you not meet the point by substituting the word "injuries'' for "accidents"? The passage would then read: "prevent the occurrence of injuries."

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I will certainly look at that suggestion and consider it.

LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR

I am glad the noble Earl has promised to look at it again I can assure him that in discussions which we have had with men in the industry it has been made clear that they feel strongly upon the subject of this Amendment. They feel that we have in the Bill as it stands a very firm, objective standard. Neither they nor we feel that the Amendment is going to promote a better standard. So I am pleased that the noble Earl has promised to look into this matter again. In the course of his looking into it, it may be that we can be of service to him and that together we can look into the whole question which is involved here.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I must make it quite clear that I think the noble and learned Earl is wrong in saying that we are lowering standards. I do not think that there is any question of that. But I will certainly look into this point and see what can be done.

VISCOUNT FURNESS

On the understanding that the noble Earl will look into it, I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 41 agreed to.

Clause 42 [Provisions as to operation of winding and rope haulage apparatus when persons are carried]:

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment is for clarification. The words emphasise that there are two types of apparatus involved: the first is connected with shafts and the second with haulage. Both have to have qualified operators. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 30, line 3, leave out the second ("or") and insert ("apparatus with which a mine shaft or staple-pit is provided and no mechanically or gravity operated").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

The next Amendment is drafting. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 30, line 6, after ("person") insert ("who has attained the age of twenty-two years").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

The next Amendment also is drafting. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 30, line 12, leave out subsection (2).—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

This is an Amendment for clarification. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 30, line 21, after ("is") insert ("below ground").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 42, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 43 [Charge of winding and rope haulage apparatus when persons are not carried]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This is a drafting Amendment: I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 30, line 46, leave out ("at a mine") and insert ("with which a mine shaft or staple-pit is provided").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 43, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 44 to 47 agreed to.

Clause 48 [Duty to secure safety of roads and working places]:

4.10 p.m.

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment is drafting. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 32, line 42, leave out ("thirty-one") and insert ("thirty-three").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 48, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 49 [Systematic support in coal, shale and fireclay mines]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

The next four Amendments are drafting. I beg to move.

Amendments moved—

Page 33, line 20, leave out ("upon") and insert ("on")

Page 33, line 22, after ("aforesaid") insert ("with respect thereto")

Page 33, line 41, leave out ("upon") and insert ("on")

Page 33, line 41, after ("a") insert ("particular")—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 49, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 50 to 52 agreed to.

Clause 53 [Duties of deputies in relation to support]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This Amendment is drafting. I beg, to move.

Amendment moved— Page 35, line 14, after ("of") insert ("sub-section (1) of").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 53, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 54 [Provisions as to support rules]:

LORD HAWKE

This is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 35, line 36, leave out ("upon") and insert ("on").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

In the new Clause 132 which we are moving, we provide that the books required to be kept by regulations made under the Bill should be kept in the mine or quarry office or any other place approved by the inspector and should be open to be inspected by employees. Here we are dealing with the support rules which do not come within the scope of the new clause, but it seems to us reasonable that they should be kept in the same way as the others. This does not in any way detract from the obligation to supply the man in charge of a district with a copy of them or to have them posted at the entrance of a district. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 36, line 5, at end insert ("or at such other place as may be approved by an inspector").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

This is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 36, line 6, after the second ("of") insert ("subsection (1) of").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

This is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 36, line 10, leave out ("section") and insert ("subsection").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment is consequential. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 36, line 14, at end insert ("seen and").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This Amendment is to meet an undertaking made in another place. It provides that support rules will be provided to every man. He will get the copy which is applicable to the part of the mine where he is working. They can be either verbal or diagrammatic. I beg to move.

Amendment Moved—

Page 36, line 15, at end insert— ("(6) It shall be the duty of the manager of every mine with respect to which support rules are for the time being in force to supply to every person employed at the mine whose duties consist of, or include, the setting or supports in accordance with a system specified in the rules, a document explaining either verbally or diagrammatically, or partly in the one way and partly in the other, the effect of the rules so far as they concern him.")—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 54, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 55 [Duty to provide adequate ventilation]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

The Bill provides that ventilation is not adequate if there is more than one and a quarter per cent. of carbon dioxide. This Amendment gives power to the Minister, if at any time he is convinced by the medical profession that this is too high, to prescribe a lower percentage. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 36, line 36, at end insert— ("or, if a smaller percentage by volume is prescribed, that smaller percentage;").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 37, line 15, leave out ("or") and insert (" by notice served on the manager of the mine or is").—(The Earl of selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 55, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 56 [Avoidance of danger from gas in waste]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This Amendment is drafting and covers a point we have had before. I beg to move.

Amendment move— Page 37, line 30, at end insert ("by notice served on the manager of the mine in which it is contained").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

These are drafting Amendments. I beg to move.

Amendments moved—

Page 37, line 42, leave out ("section fifty-five of this Act") and insert ("the last foregoing section")

Page 38, line 4, leave out ("said section fifty-five") and insert ("last foregoing section").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 56, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 57 [Power of inspector to require improvement of ventilation]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 38, line 13, leave out ("upon") and insert ("on").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This Amendment is just a little more than drafting. In the event of had ventilation, the inspector must specifiy which of the alternative actions should be taken. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 38, line 15, after ("requiring") insert ("(according as may be specified in the notice)").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 38, line 19, leave out ("section fifty-five of this Act") and insert ("the said section fifty-five").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 57, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 58 [Provisions as to means of ventilation]:

LORD HAWKE

This is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 38, line 43, leave out ("coal mine") and insert ("mine of coal").—(Lord Hawke.)

LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR

It would be interesting to know the reason why there is this change.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

It is merely for consistency throughout the Bill.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment is also drafting. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 39, line 9, leave out ("coal mines") and insert ("mines of coal").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment emphasises that the inspector's powers relate to particular mines as distinct from the Minister's powers to deal with classes of mines and mines in general. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 39, line 11, at end insert ("particular").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

The next two Amendments are consequential. I beg to move.

Amendments moved—

Page 39, line 14, leave out ("coal mine") and insert ("particular mine of coal")

line 21, leave out ("any") and insert ("a particular").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment covers a point we have dealt with before. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 39, line 26, after ("inspector,") insert ("given by notice served on the manager of the mine,").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 58, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 59 [Prevention of leakage of air between airways]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

These Amendments to Clause 59 stand together. They deal with the prevention of leakages between intake and return ventilation and ensure that this prevention of leakages goes up to 450 feet. In this Amendment that distance is referred to as "the relevant distance" and is supplied in Amendment No. 151. I beg to move the first Amendment.

Amendment moved Page 39, line 41, leave out from ("within") to first ("from") in line 45 and insert ("the relevant distance").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question Amendment agreed to.

Amendment moved—

Page 40, line 1, leave out ("In this section") and insert—

("For the purposes of the proviso to the foregoing subsection— (a) the expression "relevant distance" means, in relation to a working face in a mine, four hundred and fifty feet (measured from any point on that face in a straight line on any plane) or such other distance, so measured (whether greater or less than four hundred and fifty feet), as may, in any particular case, be determined by an inspector by notice served on the manager of the mine; and (b)"). —(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 59, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 60 [Barometers and other measuring instruments]:

4.21 p.m.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

Clause 60 deals with the provision of barometers. We have drawn things a little too tightly because, strictly speaking, there is always, inevitably, in every mine, a certain amount of carbon dioxide, which is a noxious gas. We have related the provisions of barometers in mines, other than coal mines and other than safety lamp mines, to places where there is inflammable or noxious gas in the waste. This applies to all the Amendments to this clause. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 40, line 5, leave out from ("being") to ("there") in line 6 and insert ("either a safety-lamp mine or a mine (other than a safety-lamp mine) containing any waste to which section fifty-six of this Act applies").(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Amendments moved—

Page 40, line 7, at end insert ("seen and")

Page 40, line 17, at end insert ("or humidity, or temperature")

Page 40, line 24, leave out ("kept at the mine for that purpose") and insert ("provided for that purpose by the owner of the mine.")—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 60, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 61 [Lighting]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This Amendment puts the obligation to light on the same general basis on the surface as underground. It is a little too high to say that every part above ground has got to be fully lighted, regardless of whether the only people likely to be visiting it would be carrying a torch. This does not in any way reduce the general responsibility to provide lights on the surface where people are working and would not normally be expected to carry lights. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 40, line 31, at end insert ("(account being taken, where lamps are normally carried by persons who work in or pass through any such part, of the amount of light emitted by those lamps)").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

The next Amendment is drafting. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 41, line 2, leave out ("made") and insert ("having effect").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 61, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 62 [Permitted lights]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I think I can conveniently take Amendments Nos. 158 to 170 together, because they are all drafting Amendments. However, I should like to draw particular attention to Amendments Nos. 163 and 168, and emphasise that we there refer to locked safety lamps, in order to make that quite clear. I beg to move.

Amendments moved—

Page 41, line 7, leave out ("coal mine") and insert ("mine of coal")

Page 41, line 11, after ("or") insert ("of.")

Page 41, line 13, after ("in") insert ("the case of")

Page 41, line 13, at end insert ("below ground therein")

Page 41, line 16, after ("ground") insert ("therein").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Amendment moved— Page 41, line 19, leave out ("which") and insert ("the case of which locked").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Amendments moved

Page 41, line 20, after ("used") insert ("below ground therein")

Page 41, line 24, after ("or") insert ("of ")

Page 41, line 28, after ("mine") insert ("below ground")

Page 41, line 31, after ("mine") insert ("below ground")

Page 41, line 31, at end insert ("locked")

Page 41, line 39, after ("used") insert ("below ground")

Page 42, line 13, leave out subsection (6).—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 62, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 63 to 65 agreed to.

Clause 66 [Prohibition of possession of smoking materials in certain mines and parts of mines]:

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment is consistent with redrafting in other parts of the Bill. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 43, line 19, after ("inspector") insert (", by notice served on the manager of the mine,").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

We now come to something especially important—namely, the question of carrying contraband into safety-lamp mines. It is an important and difficult subject, and it is absolutely vital to the safety of the men employed. In Clause 66 we make it an offence to have smoking materials below ground, and an offence to be found with them on search when about to go below ground. We say that the search may be immediately before or immediately after going below ground. This, however, leaves two points uncovered: first of all, the physical impossibility of a total search of all the men going below ground; and secondly, the possible forgetfulness of men. We have tried to cover the first point in the Bill by the powers of the inspector to approve a system of search—a percentage or pattern, or whatever may seem right to him. The second point we can only really cover by reminding the men of their duty. There was considerable debate in Standing Committee in another place on this subject, and I think the general conclusion was that it is such an impossible subject on which to lay down hard and fast rules for every pithead that it must be left to the man on the spot to make his own arrangements. That is what we have done in the Bill. By the new subsection we make it the duty of the manager to secure that notices warning men of their obligations are placed where they can he seen. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 44, line 20, at end insert— ("(7) It shall be the duty of the manager of every safety-lamp mine and of every mine containing a safety-lamp part to secure that, at or near every place where searches are carried out under arrangements made in pursuance of paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of this section, notices warning persons of their liability under subsection (1) thereof are kept posted in such characters and in such positions as to be easily seen and read by persons liable to be searched.").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

The next Amendment is drafting, inasmuch as we have transferred the definitions of the safety-lamp mine and the safety-lamp part of a mine to Clause 177, to be of general application throughout the Bill. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Pages 44, line 21, leave out from the beginning to ("in") in line 29.—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 66, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 67 [Prohibition of taking into certain mines and parts of mines of articles producing flames or sparks]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

The three Amendments to Clause 67 are all drafting. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 44, line 45, leave out ("that") and insert ("any").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Amendment moved— Page 45, line 2, after ("authorised") insert ("in writing").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Amendment moved— Page 45, line 5, leave out subsection (3).—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 67, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 68 [Electricity and electrical apparatus]:

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment is consistent with other Amendments which have been moved. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 45, line 31, leave out ("upon") and insert ("on").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 68, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 69 agreed to.

Clause 70 [Fire precautions in case of workings served by single intake airway]:

LORD HAWKE

This is a consequential Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved Page 46, line 45, leave out ("being a way").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

We are here dealing with the question of fire precautions in workings served by single intake airways. We provide that machinery and apparatus in those airways shall be such that they are not likely to cause fire. By these words we widen the scope of the clause, because "everything with which it is equipped is so constructed and treated" means that anything in the airway, regardless of whether it is machinery or apparatus, has to be constructed in that particular way. It may apply to using a non-inflammable belting, treatment of timber or non-inflammable brattice sheets, and so on. This is a strengthening and widening of the provision. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 47, line 4, leave out ("all machinery and apparatus therein are so constructed") and insert ("everything with which it is equipped are so constructed or treated and so").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

Here again we are dealing with rather an important point. We are still on fire precautions where there is a single air intake into the working. There was a considerable debate in another place on the question of the number of men who could be kept in that place through the fact of the shifts being changed at a particular time. The limit laid down in the Bill is 100, and it was suggested that as many as 200 might be at risk at one time in the event of certain systems of changing the shift. The Minister was pressed in various directions, but he was unable to accept any reduction in the figure of 100 as being the maximum to be employed in the circumstances specified in the clause. He did give an undertaking on Third Reading that he would reduce the figure by regulations where the shifts change at the face. By these Amendments we give emphasis to his regulating power, either for classes of mines or to deal with specific purposes. We hope that this will meet the major point of the Opposition on this particular question. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 47, line 15, leave out ("no account shall be taken of").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment is consequential. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 47, line 17, at end insert ("shall, unless it is otherwise prescribed (either generally or in relation to any particular circumstances), be left out of account.")—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

This is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 47, line 25, leave out ("upon") and insert ("on").—(Lord Hawke).

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment is the same as we have had in many places. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 47, line 26, after ("a") insert ("particular").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 70, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 71 and 72 agreed to.

Clause 73 [Means of escape from engine rooms, &c.]:

4.36 p.m.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK moved to leave out Clause 73 and to insert the following new clause:

Means of escape from rooms in which there is special risk of fire, &c.

"73. It shall not be lawful for a person to be employed at a mine in a room, chamber, or similar confined space in which, owing to the nature of any machinery or apparatus installed therein or of any materials stored therein, there is a risk of the outbreak of a dangerous fire or the escape of steam in substantial quantity or of noxious gas in a dangerous concentration, unless either such steps are taken as are necessary for the purpose of minimising the risk of his being trapped therein in any such event or the circumstances in which he is employed are themselves such as to minimise the risk of his being so trapped."

The noble Earl said: This is a new clause dealing with means of escape. We thought we had drafted a much better clause than the existing one, and I am a little disappointed that it still does not satisfy the exacting standards that noble Lords opposite appear to require. In the original clause we thought we were too dogmatic and too narrow, and we have therefore tried to widen it altogether. We have laid down general principles on which it should work, and we have extended the sphere of what we considered to be dangerous. For instance, instead of giving the list of rooms which are specially mentioned in the Bill, we have put it much wider. We say, "Every chamber or similar confined space." That applies above ground or underneath. Instead of saying that there should be two exits, we say that all danger should be minimised in that respect. It seems to me that to emphasise two exits would be emphasising something that may not be so essential in some cases. What has to be considered is the whole circumstances, of which two exits is only one of the factors. I believe there may be some danger in pin-pointing it too much.

I should like to emphasise the much wider scope of this clause. We have taken out the words "highly inflammable," which were criticised in another place, and we have put in "a risk of outbreak of a dangerous fire," and also included the escape of steam or noxious gas. We think this is a more practical and comprehensive clause, and I commend it to the Committee. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Leave out Clause 73, and insert the said new clause.—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR moved, as an Amendment to the Amendment, in line 7 of the new clause, to leave out either such" and insert: such room, chamber, or similar confined space is provided with at least two exits, which shall be properly maintained and kept free from obstruction, affording to him adequate means of escape therefrom in case of fire and such further

The noble Lord said: We agree that the second thoughts are better than the first. What we cannot understand, however, is that the second thoughts can even suggest leaving out two exits. I do not agree that we can over-emphasise that. Those familiar with what is involved in these things know what two exits mean under such conditions. I was hoping there would be still further thought upon this matter. This is the only bone of contention. The risk is too great in these circumstances not to have two exits. Evidently the Minister has revised his opinion that exits are necessary, but I cannot think that the new clause has done anything to do away with the necessity for two exits. That is the only bone of contention we have, and I hope the noble Earl will look further into it. We consulted yesterday with the experts and, if necessary, we could have further consultations. I beg to move.

Amendment to the Amendment moved— Line 7 of the new clause, leave out ("either such") and insert the said new words.—(Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor).

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I can see the noble Lord's point. He is emphasising the need for two exits and he wants to pinpoint it. To be quite frank, we felt that there was danger in pinpointing it too much, because there are certain circumstances when two exits are not necessary or desirable. I will give an example. There are, I think the noble Lord agrees, certain places where in point of fact there is only one exit and the effect of opening the door is to cut all the current off; in other words you never go in; you operate from the outside. I will give another example: take an explosives store. I think everyone agrees it is better to have only one door, partly for safety reasons; I think that is the standard practice. I will give another example: you might perfectly well put two doors in juxtaposition, fully complying with the Act but serving no purpose at all. Somebody will come along and say, "Yes, we have got two doors": and yet they are useless.

I do not want to underestimate the importance of two exits. We hope they are included in the terms of the draft; if they are not, we can consider it further. We do not want to pinpoint it so that the provision of two exits seems a superficial duty under the Act and serves no purpose. We feel that in putting it in that way the noble Lord is putting emphasis where it is not quite essential. We will certainly look at the matter and see whether we can do something to bring this point out. I think the noble Lord's point comes from the 1911 Act, and we thought we had a very much better draft than the 1911 Act.

LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR

We are grateful to the noble Earl for promising to consider this matter. Of course, a store is quite different from a place where humans are employed. His illustration might well be used for the best house in the country. If something comes between the individual and the one exit and he is trapped inside, what is the use of all the improvements which have gone on the internal decorations? Where you have any person employed in engine rooms or anything of that kind, I think it is desirable and essential to have two exits. I am sure that if we could have, as we are going to have, the opportunity of discussing this matter with the noble Earl, we could easily come to some agreement upon it. We could say that where persons are employed there should be two exits to enable a person to come out in the event of anything happening between him and the other exit. We have seen too many of these accidents under ground and we think that we can persuade the Government that in certain circumstances there should be two exits.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I entirely agree with what the noble Lord said about certain circumstances. I am sure he will remember that in a case of this sort it is open to the inspector to prosecute when he considers the provision has not been implemented. That is why we drafted it in that form.

LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR

A short time ago the noble Earl was referring to the amount of work placed on the shoulders of the inspector; please do not put this upon him. If it is deemed to be absolutely essential, why not see it is done? Again, I think we can come to an agreement upon it.

Amendment to the Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 73, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 74 [Dust Precautions]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

We are dealing here with suppression of dust, and it seems to us we are putting a little bit too much into this Bill when we say that the formation of dust must be prevented. It is quite impossible for any mining to go on without causing the formation of dust. What really matters is whether the dust gets into the air so that it is injurious to health or a possible danger because it becomes inflammable. It seems to us better to pinpoint the giving off of dust rather than the formation of dust as the important thing. If the noble Lord should wonder where the general obligation to remove an accumulation of dust lies I refer him to subsection (2) (c), where the obligation is laid on the manager to clear away or render it harmless. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 49, line 12, leave out ("formation") and insert ("giving off").

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 74, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 75 [Duty of mine owners and managers to seek evidence of proximity of disused workings, water-bearing strata, &c.]:

LORD HAWKE

This clause is dealing with the vital duty of both owners and managers to do their best to find out the proximity of dangerous workings or any dangerous strata to their mine. It is their duty to keep each other informed of the information they happen to receive. Our Amendment is to make the duty still more clear. It is a clarification of those duties.

Amendment moved—

Page 50, line 27, leave out from ("duty") to end of line 38 and insert— ("(a) forthwith after any such information as is mentioned in paragraph (a) of the foregoing subsection comes into his possession (whether in consequence of the discharge of the duty imposed upon him by that paragraph or not), of furnishing to the other particulars of the information; and (b) forthwith after taking any steps in discharge of the duty imposed upon him by paragraph (b) of that subsection, of furnishing to the other particulars of the steps taken and of any conclusion reached as a result of taking them.")—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 75, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 76 and 77 agreed to.

Clause 78 [Powers of inspector with respect to danger from inrushes of gas, water, &c.]:

LORD HAWKE

These Amendments are all drafting Amendments. I beg to move.

Amendments moved—

Page 51, line 19, leave out ("upon") and insert ("on")

Page 51, line 20, after ("aforesaid") insert ("with respect thereto")

Page 51, line 45, leave out ("upon") and insert ("on")

Page 52, line 1, after ("aforesaid") insert ("with respect thereto").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 78, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 79 [Withdrawal of workmen in cases of danger]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

Both these Amendments are drafting Amendments. I beg to move.

Amendments moved—

Page 53, line 38, leave out from ("mine") to ("or") in line 39.

Page 53, line 40, leave out ("as aforesaid") and insert ("a safety-lamp mine").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 80 [Duty of workmen to deal with, or report, danger]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This Amendment makes sure that the managers and the under-managers are officials of the mine. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 54, line 17, leave out ("the manager, an under-manager or").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 80, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 81 [Construction and maintenance of machinery and apparatus]:

LORD HAWKE

This clause deals with the Minister's power by regulation to ensure that all appliances, machinery and so on of the equipment of a mine are of proper construction. As the clause is now drafted, it might be that the Minister had powers to make such regulations in regard to machinery and so on which was not part of the equipment of the mine. This Amendment is put down to resolve that doubt. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 54, line 40, after ("apparatus") insert ("as aforesaid").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 81, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 82 [Fencing of exposed parts of machinery]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This Amendment is drafting. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 55, line 9, leave out ("subsection (1) of this section") and insert ("the foregoing subsection").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 82, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 83 agreed to.

Clause 84 [Air, gas and steam containers]:

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment is drafting. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 55, line 27, leave out ("description") and insert ("descriptions").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 84, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 85 [Loading of cranes, &c.]:

LORD HAWKE

This clause provides that jibs, cranes and winches of the mines should be marked with their safety loads, but it does not apply to winding apparatus in shafts or to rope haulage apparatus. The redrafting makes this quite clear. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 56, line 9, leave out ("or rope haulage apparatus or") and insert ("with which a mine shaft or staple-pit is provided or to any rope haulage apparatus, and regulations may provide that this section shall not apply").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 85, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 86 [Construction and maintenance of buildings and structures]:

4.53 p.m.

VISCOUNT FURNESS

I beg to move this Amendment. This clause provides that All buildings and structures on the surface of a mine shall be of safe construction and properly maintained. Clause 177 of the Bill defines "maintained" as "maintained in good and safe working order." I submit that it should be necessary to maintain within that narrow definition only buildings which are in use, not buildings which are derelict or abandoned. Surely all that is necessary in the interests of safety in these cases is that they should be kept in a safe condition so that they will not cause injury to passers-by. I believe that in another place the Government accepted the principle of this Amendment but wanted to reconsider the phraseology. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 56, line 13, after ("structures") insert ("in use").—(Viscount Furness.)

LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR

Before the noble Earl replies, I should like to say that I have been unable to find any reason for this Amendment and we have not been given any reason this afternoon, except that someone somewhere has at some time thought about it and promised to do something about it. We on this side feel—and we have discussed this at great length—that we have in the Bill as it stands a clear, definite statement that cannot be misunderstood. We think that the Amendment is inclined to introduce ambiguity where ambiguity is not very wise. We ourselves feel that Clause 86 as it stands is far better. We hope that the Minister will resist the Amendment.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I can give the noble Viscount, Lord Furness, at least some encouragement here, in that the reference in Clause 177 where "maintained" is defined as meaning "maintained in good and safe working order" ought to be omitted. I regret to say that that is an Amendment which we have not put down. In that sense, the strength of the noble Viscount's argument is perhaps pro tanto diminished. We all agree that buildings on the surface of a mine must be safe.

LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR

Absolutely.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

The question that the noble Viscount is asking is: what does "maintained" mean? Does it mean to say it is a statutory obligation to keep it painted or such things as that? We certainly had not intended that meaning. We want the buildings to be safe. We will look at this point again to see whether the clause may have a wider connotation than we first thought, but, in any case, we do not think that this Amendment will do. If I may contrast, on the one hand, the words "properly maintained" with "kept in a safe condition," which the noble Viscount puts into his next Amendment, a comparison of those two makes it abundantly clear that "properly maintained" is not intended to connote a safe condition: it is intended to connote painting and all kinds of other things. So his Amendment would be wrong. It is also wrong in this sense. The noble Viscount, by his next Amendment, says that a building "if not dismantled," need not be kept safe. I do not think he intends that, but that is the effect of his Amendment. So I do not think the Amendment, as it stands, will do. What I will do is to have a look at it to see whether or not there is possibly some excessive duty laid on those who maintain the buildings. I think there is a great deal in what the noble Lord, Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor, says. A clear statement is desirable, if and when it can be made.

EARL JOWITT

There is also this point. As regards the adverb "properly" before "maintained," surely, in considering whether any building or structure is "properly maintained," one has regard to all the circumstances, and that gives the noble Viscount the safeguard he wanted? I am glad that the noble Earl is to look at the point. It is important to have an absolutely crystal-clear statement about this matter. I hope that the noble Earl will adhere to his resolution to have this clause in the form in which it now stands. Perhaps something like this could be put down at a later stage.

VISCOUNT FURNESS

In view of the undertaking by my noble friend the Paymaster General, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 86 agreed to.

Clauses 87 to 89 agreed to.

Clause 90 [Penalisation of negligent acts or omissions and unauthorised removal, &c., of articles]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

My right honourable friend gave an undertaking in the other place to take out the words "himself or other," because it was felt that a man who endangers his own life should not be liable. In implementation of that undertaking, I move this Amendment, though I am bound to say, in fairness, that I have considerable doubts whether it makes any difference. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 57, line 11, leave out ("himself or other").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This Amendment is consequential. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 57, line 13, leave out ("himself or other").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I beg to move this Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 57, line 15, leave out the second ("a") and insert ("the").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

The EARL OF SELKIRK

I beg to move this Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 57, line 17, leave out the first ("the") and insert ("a").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 90, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 91 agreed to.

Clause 92:

Medical examinations

92. Provision may be made by regulations for requiring persons employed or seeking employment at mines to submit themselves for medical examination and for prohibiting the employment at a mine, either absolutely or in a particular capacity or in particular work, of—

  1. (a) a person who upon being required to submit himself for medical examination in accordance with the regulations fails without reasonable cause to do so;
  2. (b) a person as to whom it is determined in accordance with the regulations that, by reason of his physical or mental condition, he is unfit for such employment or for such employment in that capacity or in that work, as the case may be.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This Amendment is consequential on my further Amendment. I beg formally to move.

Amendment moved— Page 58, line 2, after ("regulations") insert ("(a)").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

5.2 p.m.

LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR moved to leave out "employed or." The noble Lord said: This is what I consider to be one of our major Amendments, one on which we feel very strongly indeed. As we have frequently said, we have no objection to the examination of new entrants or to debar them from employment, but we cannot accept the idea that a man who has been employed in the mines over the period of a number of years shall be subjected to examination from time to time to see whether he is still fit to carry on the work of a miner. The reason why we cannot accept that is because we know that a period underground may cause a deterioration in a man's physique—he may not be the man he was ten years before, when he first joined the mining industry. But we are not prepared for those in charge of the industry to say, "As a result of working for us these last ten years, you are not as well as you were; you are not quite good enough for us. Try some other industry." That, we are not going to stand for.

We feel that this is very unfair in regard to a man who has worked in a very hard and risky industry and who, in the course of doing so, may have found his health impaired. That is where we see the danger, and it is against that danger that we want to safeguard ourselves. If a man becomes unfit for his job in the mining industry, he can, through the negotiating machinery, approach his trade union representative and ask to be given more suitable work. Frequently, if not always, where there is deterioration of that kind, a man is fixed up. But this provision is not quite the same thing: it rather opens the door, and what the men fear is that they will be told "Your health has now deteriorated—out," and that they will not be able to get in any other industry. I do not know what instructions the noble Earl has on this issue, but I hope that he will not turn it down flatly to-day, because feeling is very strong on this matter in the industry. I beg to move.

Amendment moved▀× Page 58, line 3, leave out ("employed or").—(Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor.)

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

May I deal with this clause as a whole? The noble Lord and those for whom he speaks are not satisfied. I am a little disappointed, because my right honourable friend has been at considerable pains and trouble to try to meet the three points on which they wanted an Amendment to the clause as originally drafted. This clause, as originally drafted, came almost exactly out of the Coal Mines Act, 1949, which the noble Lord, Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor, commended to your Lordships in that year. That was a clause which he commended—I think very rightly, because nobody can say it has not worked well. I do not think that anybody would contend for one moment that the clause as he put it forward has not worked exceedingly well, and with little or no substantial alteration we reproduced it in this Bill.

When we came to examine it in another place there were, as I understand it, three points which were made very clear. The first was that no medical examination should exclude a man absolutely from the coal industry. The noble Lord will observe that we have taken that out—no medical examination can absolutely exclude a man from the coal industry. The second thing was that there should be an appeal from the medical assessment to some other medical board. The noble Lord will observe that we have provided for that. The third thing was that a man should be given information upon which he could base his appeal. We have provided for that. I will be quite frank, and say that we really thought that we had met the essential requirements which the noble Lord had in mind. Now he has moved an Amendment. I have some doubts whether the Amendment really meets the point that he has in mind. In the first place, the noble Lord's Amendment deals with those seeking employment. I should have thought that the term "those seeking employment" would also include the case where a mine is closed down and a man comes to seek employment at some other mine—I think that is a fair interpretation.

May I take another one—the example of a man who has been sick for some period and goes back to his industry. Again, the Amendment might be brought in—I am not saying that it would, but it probably would, in each case. So I doubt very much whether this Amendment would really meet the point—

LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR

We are concerned with the man who has not worked previously in the coal industry.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I follow that, though I am not quite sure whether the wording covers that. But the point I have to make is that there are certain posts in the industry to-day which carry great responsibility—posts involving such people as winding engine men, haulage engine men and rescue squads. Those people have got to be of a certain standard. The noble Lord spoke on a great deal of subjects which are really administrative matters between the National Union of Mineworkers and the National Coal Board, These are statutory matters, and it seems to me that in these limited spheres, particularly of responsible posts, there must be same form of examination. That applies to other industries, like aviation, the job of engine-driver, drivers of passenger vehicles, and possibly to merchant seamen of some sort. Those are equally exacting industries, and the men concerned in them have to submit to some form of examination. The noble Lord did not confine his remarks to the one point. What he was dealing with was the idea that this instrument, this statutory power, should be used by the Minister to drive people out of the industry. If there is one thing more than anything else that respective Ministers of Fuel and Power have been absolutely agreed upon, certainly for the last ten years, if not for much longer, it is that they want more people in the industry, and certainly do not want to drive anybody out. I do not think there is any real reason to believe the contrary now.

What I can say more specifically is that there is no intention to use power under paragraph (b)—that is to say, excluding anybody except those holding responsible posts at the present time. What may be required is power under (a), which deals with compulsory examination—it has nothing to do with keeping people away from the job. Noble Lords are aware of the scheme with regard to pneumoconiosis; that is on a voluntary basis. But the time may come when routine examinations of the chest may be compulsory, with the object of helping those who are fighting this disease, to see whether the precautionary measures they are taking are effective. That is one of the ways in which it will be done, by constant examination of chests. I am afraid that I must regard the noble Lord's Amendment as a direct negative of what I am putting here. I was very much hoping that it might be accepted that our Amendments represent a considerable step forward on those which the noble Lord himself recommended to your Lordships' House. The Amendment he has put down is a direct negative.

Take the question of appeal. A man entering the industry for the first time is turned down; he does not want power of appeal. If a man is refused employment in this or that part of the industry when applying for the first time, he will, presumably, if he is not fit, go nowhere. All these powers are to be quite valueless. I should very much like the noble Lord to look at these Amendments as they stand—they are a considerable step forward—and consider whether, with people holding responsible positions, the Minister is really right in abrogating any power of examination in regard to people upon whom, necessarily, depend the lives of many others. It may be argued that there have been no accidents involving winding engine men, but I believe that an astonishing number have collapsed either going to or returning from their work in recent years. That represents a danger. The noble Lord must appreciate that the Minister has a right to be covered to some extent. I am quite prepared to discuss the matter further, if the noble Lord wishes, but his Amendment as it stands makes valueless the provisions made here in answer to undertakings.

VISCOUNT HALL

I should not like the noble Earl to think that we are in any way unmindful of the advantages which his Amendments will bring; but we have to face the question of compulsory medical examination as a matter of vital principle. It is an entirely new precedent.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

It is in the 1949 Act.

VISCOUNT HALL

I know that the noble Earl is referring to the Act of 1949, which is working well—

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I am told so.

VISCOUNT HALL

—but this aspect has never been put into operation according to the information I have received; and, of course, if that aspect has not been put into operation then naturally the Act is working very well. I can quite understand why it has not been put into operation—because those who have to administer the Act realise what the Act, in its naked form and with that reference, will do. The noble Earl rightly referred to some jobs in the coal mines, winding engine men or haulage engine men, and a few others which could be well classified. I am absolutely convinced that at the present time there is not a single person in the coal mines who, if he were asked to volunteer for a medical examination, would not do so. That has been so for years. In the colliery in which I was employed, if the manager had any doubt at all about the health of a winding engine man he would say, "Daniel" (or "Thomas"), "I think you should have a medical examination"; and I do not know of a single instance where that has been refused. But the noble Earl must realise that this Bill places power in the hands of the Minister to have every man in a colliery compulsorily medically examined. Is there any industry in the country where that is happening?

I can assure the noble Earl, and indeed the Coal Board, that I know the psychological effect of having doctors make these periodical examinations and what the result will be. Some of us have had experience of doctors sufficient to frighten us from doing any work at all. When I was 18 I was told that I had about two years to live, yet here I am—I will not tell you what my age is. It is true that that doctor made a great mistake and that other doctors have saved my life, so matters have balanced up. I was speaking to someone with long experience in the coal mining industry and put this question about medical examinations to him. He is still employed in the industry. He said, "I am sure that, of the middle-aged and elderly men, if they were forced into a medical examination some 50 per cent. would leave the pits." I will not put the figure as high as that. I will put it at between one-quarter and one-third—and that at a time when the coal industry is starved for men. I am sure that would be the result. If the noble Earl, and indeed the Minister himself, and the Coal Board, classified those men who are doing these important jobs, winding engine man (of course that is a key job) and some of the men driving the engines in the pit and other staple shafts, those who were responsible for the workmen's side of the mining industry would readily meet the Minister. You have that on the railways: the railway men generally know that at 60 they undergo an examination and have periodical examinations. Why have the Government put in a clause of this kind for the coal industry?

I am one of those who believe that coal is vital to the economic life of this country to-day. We read in the Press that the Minister of Fuel and Power has announced that we are to import another 2 million tons of coal this year, yet here is a provision which will be disastrous if it drives out of the colliery only 5 per cent. of the men—not 25 per cent. or 30 per cent. I beg Her Majesty's Government to reconsider, first, that part of the clause which we ask should be amended, otherwise (as I am advised is the case with the 1949 Act) the power may be in the Bill but will not be operated. For heaven's sake do not put it in the Bill if we know—and I do know—that the miners would not agree to its operation or to compulsory medical examination. They have resisted it before. It has been attempted by a number of coal owners and has always been resisted; and it will be resisted again if any attempt is made to implement that part of the Act which will force compulsory medical examination upon men employed in the coal mining industry in this country.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I am very grateful to the noble Viscount for what he said, particularly in regard to the danger of compulsory medical examination, but I must emphasise that there is nothing new in this. This is a notable restriction of the Minister's powers compared with what existed in 1949. Provisions, details of which I have given, have, at the request of those particularly interested in the mining industry, been put in, and I honestly feel that this clause is entitled to a warm welcome. We have gone a long way to meet points which have been raised. The noble Lord's Amendment is substantially negative of the whole. The noble Lord is not complaining of medical examinations as such; a miner would probably not object to a routine examination of the chest, provided that no powers were used under paragraph (b).

VISCOUNT HALL

No; what we are objecting to is the principle. We know that thousands of men in South Wales and in other coalfields have voluntarily responded to requests to present themselves for medical examination in connection with researches into pneumoconiosis and silicosis. They have done that and they will do it again.

LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR

By the thousand.

VISCOUNT HALL

If a person himself feels that he is suffering from either pneumoconiosis or silicosis he will go to his doctor. Indeed, if he is suffering from any physical defect at all he will go. I cannot see that the psychological effect of this has been improved. Let us assume that, before anyone could sit in the House of Lords, he had to submit himself to medical examination, and that afterwards he would have to have periodical further examinations. What would the effect of that be? After all, this is the place of employment for some of us. But that sort of thing is not applied to us, and why should it be applied to the miners? I would appeal to the noble Marquess about this. I think it is a great mistake to make this compulsory. There is a compulsory medical examination on entry—that has been agreed to. But, personally, I would strongly resent that, and I would say that that is true of a lot of people. There are cases of men who haw suffered from pneumoconiosis who have been invited to go back to the pits by the colliery managers. I hope that the Government will reconsider this matter.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I appreciate very much what the noble Viscount has said. I would only emphasise that this is merely a power to make regulations. I think I am correct in saying that any regulations made must come before Parliament, and can, of course, be negatived in Parliament. So even if we accept this Bill as it stands there will be a second stage at which some detailed classification, such as the noble Viscount, Lord Hall, suggests, could readily and easily be propounded and discussed. I am glad to hear that the noble Viscount wishes to discuss this matter. I shall be glad to meet him and to give him the opportunity of doing so if the noble Lord, Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor will withdraw his Amendment.

LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR

I am quite prepared to do that. The noble Earl has made it evident that he has never been a Member of another place, and indeed he has rather surprised me by the way in which he has proceeded here. He has been discussing an Amendment that follows, and he tells us that we have not explained our attitude with regard to that Amendment. Of course not. But we shall do so. I have been looking round for the Chairman or someone else to put the noble Earl in order. We have not expressed our views on the Amendment because we have not yet come to it. I can tell the noble Earl now that we shall extend a very warm welcome to his Amendment. He rather suggested that my Amendment did away with his Amendment. We do not think it does. As I say we shall extend a very warm welcome to his Amendment. In view of his undertaking I gladly withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK moved to leave out all words after "examination and" to the end of the clause and insert: (b) for prohibiting the employment—

  1. (i) in a particular capacity or particular work at all mines or at mines of any class, of a person as to whom it is determined, upon his being medically examined in accordance with the regulations, that, by reason of his physical or mental condition, he is unfit for employment in that capacity or work at all mines or at mines of that class, as the case may be;
  2. (ii) in particular parts of, or places in, all mines or mines of any class, of a person as to whom it is so determined that, by reason aforesaid, he is unfit for employment in those parts of, or places in, all mines or mines of that class, as the case may be.

(2)Regulations made for the purpose of paragraph (b) of the foregoing subsection shall be of no effect unless provision is made thereby—

  1. (a) for the issue to a person who, upon being medically examined in accordance with the regulation, is determined to be unfit as mentioned in sub-paragraph (i) or (ii) of that paragraph, at the request of that person, of notice of the determination, stating the grounds on which it was made; and
  2. (b) for the review, at the instance of any such person, of the determination otherwise than by the person who made it, and for conferring on the person by whom the review is carried out power to quash or vary the determination or to substitute a different determination."

The noble Earl said: I accept the rebuke of the noble Lord, Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor—I was going too far ahead. But really that matter is rather fundamental to an examination of this whole question. What we have done here is to take away the word "absolute," to give the power of appeal and to let the individual have the opportunity of knowing the grounds on which his appeal can be made. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 58, line 4, leave out from ("and") to end of line 14 and insert the said new paragraph and subsection.—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

VISCOUNT HALL

May I now thank the noble Earl for this Amendment? It is a great improvement upon the original, and on behalf of the miners I express our thanks to him for it.

LORD WEBB-JOHNSON

I intervene in the interests of those who, according to subsection 2 (a), are "determined to be unfit." I appreciate how essential it is, as laid down in this subsection, that the person who is determined to be unfit shall be informed on what ground that determination has been arrived at, but I question the means by which the information should be conveyed to him. There may be many instances—indeed, we know from long experience in the profession that there are such instances—where considerable harm is done by an examining doctor informing the person being examined that he has found a certain condition. We have laid down certain rules of ethics for the guidance of practitioners. The rules of ethics in professions are generally laid down in the interests of the clients, not in the interests of the practitioners. I will not read in full the rule which is relevant here but if applied to this particular class of case it would read like this: When in the course of an examination there come to light material clinical findings, the examining practitioner with the consent of or at the request of the individual shall inform the attending practitioner of the relevant details. Great harm may be done, psychologically and otherwise, by information being bluntly given to one who may be suffering from a serious disease. If, as appears from this Amendment, he is to be given a document stating the grounds on which the determination has been made, I think it would be unfortunate. I ask the noble Earl to reconsider this Amendment and to remember that to-day an attending doctor is available for every person in the land, without any charge. The person himself has provided the service, or rather he has contributed towards its provision. I think if the noble Earl will reconsider this—and I will furnish him with a copy of the ethical rules which have been proved by experience to be valuable—it will meet the case. We can perhaps convince him of—and I hope all sides of the House will realise it—the danger of the wording of the Amendment as it stands. Of course if the noble Earl consents to reconsider this Amendment it would, I think, be a wonderful opportunity for him to choose some word other than "determination," which does not seem to me to be the most suitable word in this connection.

EARL JOWITT

I must say that I have sat here and listened with great interest to the arguments put forward by both my noble friends, Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor and Lord Hall, and to those of the noble Earl with regard to this clause. Then I heard the noble Lord who has just spoken. Speaking for myself, I feel that there is substance in what Lord Webb-Johnson has said. I had not thought of it before but now I put to myself this case. Suppose a man comes to be examined and the doctor thinks he is suffering from cancer in the early stages, or something of that sort. I am sure I do not know what he ought to do. But I should like to ask what would be the applicable ethical rule. I can imagine that it might be a very cruel thing to tell a man what is wrong with him in such circumstances. Surely it would be better to arrange that information such as that should be given through his own medical man, or something of that sort, putting the onus on the medical man as to what should be said. I do not know what should be done in these circumstances, but, so far as I am concerned, I thought the noble Lord had made his point there. I gather from my noble friend Lord Hall that the miners realise there is substance in this point, and if the noble Earl were to take this Amendment back and look at it again, he would not incur any hostility from the miners in doing so. If I may, I commend what the noble Lord, Lord Webb-Johnson, has said to the attention of the noble Earl.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I think this discussion shows the value of this House in bringing forward different points of view. In defence of the Government's proposition, I would say that this information is intended not only for medical examination, but also where there is a prohibition against doing some form of work. It is intended to be circumscribed in that sense. Moreover, we hope that in stating the grounds the medical practitioner may be as vague and uncertain as he thinks wise. But in view of what the noble Lord, Lord Webb-Johnson, and the noble and learned Earl have said, I will gladly take it back and look at it. I should dislike to feel that anything we put in this Bill is in any way discordant with medical ethics, for which we have the highest regard. In these circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 92, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 93 and 94 agreed to.

5.32 p.m.

LORD HAWKE moved, after Clause 94, to insert the following new clause:

Measures against vermin

"(1) It shall be the duty of the owner of every mine to take such steps as are necessary to secure that all parts of the mine below ground are kept free from rats and mice, and provision may be made by regulations for requiring owners of mines to take steps for the destruction below ground therein of insects or any prescribed class of insect or otherwise for keeping parts of mines below ground free from insects or any prescribed class of insects.

(2) Nothing in this section shall be construed as excluding the application to parts of mines below ground of any of the provisions of the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act, 1949."

The noble Lord said: This is a new clause, and now we start to deal with rats and mice. The clause fulfils an undertaking given by the Minister during Third Reading in another place, and its effect is to give the mine owner, not the manager, the initiative in securing the destruction of rats and mice, without undermining the position in this matter of the local authority who have a duty under the provisions of the Damage by Pests Act, 1949. Under that Act, the local authority already have the obligation to destroy rats and mice, both above and below ground. However, that Act places no statutory obligation on mine owners to do so unless required by the local authority, although there is an obligation to report their presence. This clause refers only to underground, because on the surface the position is substantially the same as in any other industrial establishment. Of course, below ground the position is different, and although I understand there is co-operation between the Coal Board and the local authorities, we think it is better that the initiative should rest with the mine owner. It was suggested in another place that we should carry this clause beyond rats and mice to include other vermin. The Minister promised to look into that suggestion and as a result he has decided to take power to make regulations in respect of insects. I understand that rats, mice and insects about run the whole gamut of the field. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— After Clause 94, insert the said new clause—(Lord Hawke.)

LORD RAGLAN

I spoke in defence of English in a previous Amendment, and now I find that we are here talking about "any prescribed class of insects or otherwise." I thought that insects had achieved a classless society: perhaps species is what is meant. Then there is the word "otherwise"—I should very much like to know what is a class of "otherwise."

LORD HAWKE

I do not know whether the noble Lord would be justified in substituting "species" for "class," because I think "species" is a term of art and so would be too general. At the same time, I will read what the noble Lord has said with interest and take it up with the draftsman, to see whether the wording could not be altered to meet his views.

THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY)

I think the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, has read this Amendment wrongly. The Amendment reads: … to take steps far the destruction below ground therein of insects or any prescribed class of insects or otherwise for keeping parts of mines below ground free from insects or any prescribed class of insects. I think that is the correct reading.

LORD RAGLAN

If that is so, I stand corrected.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clauses 95 and 96 agreed to.

Clause 97 [Appointment of quarry managers]:

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment is consequential on Amendment No. 4. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 59, line 4, leave out from ("worked") to ("unless") in line 5.—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

The following Amendments are drafting. I beg to move.

Amendments moved—

Page 59, line 7, leave out from ("thereof") to ("is") in line 8.

Page 59, line 13, leave out from ("quarry") to end of line 14.

Page 59, line 18, leave out from ("quarry") to ("over") in line 19.

Page 59, line 22, leave out from ("with") to end of line 23 and insert ("the inspector for the district and approved by him by notice served on the owner.")

Page 59, line 25, after ("shall") insert (",in the case of a quarry,")

Page 59, line 27, leave out ("do so") and insert ("withhold or withdraw it")

Page 59, line 28, leave out ("the quarry to which the approval relates") and insert ("that quarry").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 97, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 98 [General powers and duties of quarry managers]:

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment is for clarification. The phrase "any other manager of a quarry" would include a manager of any other quarry. This was not intended. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 59, line 40, leave out ("any other manager of a quarry") and insert ("a manager of a quarry who is not the sole manager thereof").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 98, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 99 agreed to.

Clause 100 [Rights of quarry manager with respect to instructions given by or on behalf of owner]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 60, line 26, leave out from ("of") to ("shall") in line 27 and insert ("statutory responsibilities of his").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 100, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 101 [Temporary appointments during vacancy in office of quarry manager]:

LORD HAWKE

This is another Amendment on the same principle as Amendment No. 4. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 61, line 7, leave out from ("worked") to ("at") in line 8.—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 101, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 102 and 103 agreed to.

Clause 104 [Duties of quarry managers and owners with respect to reading of reports, &c.]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This is a consequential Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 62, line 44, leave out ("kept at") and insert ("provided for that purpose by the owner of").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 104, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 105 agreed to.

Clause 106 [Notification to district inspector of appointments by quarry owners]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 63, line 35, after ("Minister,") insert ("of the making of the appointment and").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 106, as amended, agreed to.

5.40 p.m.

Clause 107 [Provisions for securing safe methods of working]:

LORD HAWKE

We have now come to the clause dealing with safe working in quarries. The subsection provides that there shall be no overhanging, but the proviso as drafted says that the requirement may be relaxed or suspended at classes of quarries by the Minister, or particular quarries by the inspector. As we have re-drafted it, the Minister may exempt the quarry from this requirement if he thinks it unnecessary to secure the safety of employees. By Clause 171 such exemption may be conditional. So that, although the words "relax" and "suspend" are dropped, perhaps suggesting some slackening of control, yet, in practice, the power of exemption remains the same. We are, in fact, rather splitting hairs, but the revised wording may be better received by some people. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 64, leave out lines 7 to 27 and insert: ("(a) if the Minister is satisfied with respect to any prescribed class of quarries, that, having regard to the system of working quarries of that class and the natural condition of the minerals thereof, fulfilment of the requirement imposed by the foregoing provisions of this subsection is unnecessary to secure the safety of persons employed there at, regulations may provide that quarries of that class or such parts thereof as may be prescribed shall be exempted from that requirement; and (b) if an inspector is satisfied with respect to a particular quarry that, having regard to the system of working the quarry and the natural condition of the minerals thereof, fulfilment of that requirement is unnecessary to secure the safety of persons employed thereat, he may, by notice served on the owner of the quarry, exempt the quarry or such part thereof as may be specified in the notice from that requirement.") (Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 107, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 108 to 113 agreed to.

Clause 114 [Application of certain provisions of Part III of this Act]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Leave out Clause 114 and insert the following new clause: ("114. The following provisions of this Act, namely, section seventy-three, sections eighty to eighty-two and eighty-four to eighty-eight, section eighty-nine (save in so far as it relates to transport or support rules), section ninety, section ninety-one (save in so far as it relates to persons employed below ground) and sections ninety-two, ninety-three, ninety-five and ninety-six, shall apply to quarries as they apply to mines with the substitution, for references to mines, of references to quarries and subject also to the following additional modifications, that is to say:—

  1. (a) for references in sections eighty-two, eighty-four, eighty-eight and ninety-one to the manager there shall be substituted references to the owner and for references in section eighty-nine to the manager there shall be substituted references to any manager;
  2. (b) the reference to winding apparatus in subsection (3) of section eighty-five shall be omitted; and
  3. (c) for the words "on the surface of" in sections eighty-six, eighty-seven and ninety-six there shall be substituted the word "at".")—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

VISCOUNT HALL moved, as an Amendment to the Amendment, after "ninety-three" to insert "ninety-four." The noble Viscount said: I cannot claim to be an expert on quarries, with which this clause deals, but I should like to move this Amendment to the Amendment, standing in my name and also that of my noble friend Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor. As I understand it, Clause 94 deals with certain amenities for the miners who are employed in the pits. Those who represent the quarrymen ask that the same facilities should be extended to them, which can be done if "ninety-four" is inserted after "ninety-three." It may be convenient if I speak now to the next Amendment also.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

Yes, I think so.

VISCOUNT HALL

I believe that both these Amendments to the Amendment seek to add the same provision of lavatory accommodation to quarries as is provided for coal miners. To avoid undue expense to the small quarry owner, we suggest that our proposal should apply only to quarries employing over ten people, although we should be prepared to extend this to twelve or fifteen. We feel that where there are something like a dozen or more persons employed in a quarry these facilities should be extended in a form for which these Amendments would provide. I beg to move.

Amendment to Amendment moved— Line 6 of the new clause, after ("ninety-three") insert ("ninety-our").—(Viscount Hall.)

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I am sure we agree entirely, in principle, with what the noble Viscount, Lord Hall, has said, that there ought to be provisions of this character in relation to certain quarries. However, there are already provisions by which the inspector can use his powers to insist on the provision of conveniences. The other matter to which I should like to draw the attention of the noble Viscount is that the working of quarries is different from the working of mines. A mine is normally worked continuously, but there are many quarries in outlying parts which are worked intermittently, where there may be ten or fifteen men working once or twice a year, but for the rest of the time no one is there at all. For that reason, it seems that the best way to deal with this is through the powers of the inspector. The noble Viscount has said that this matter has been represented to him by the quarrymen. I should like to know whether there are any specific cases where a convenience of this sort is urgently needed, but not provided. The difficulty is that a general statutory obligation of this character seems to me to go too far, because in certain outlying places I do not think it is possible to maintain conveniences properly, as laid down by Statute. Frankly, in many cases I would rather have no convenience than the sort of convenience which might result from this. I should like to review the statutory position, and see whether quarries should be brought more into line with, perhaps, factories under the Factories Act, which in this respect I feel they more resemble than they do mines. I do not think there is any difference of opinion about this, because we obviously want to do what is right and proper, in the circumstances.

VISCOUNT HALL

With that explanation, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment to the Amendment.

Amendment to Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 115 [Notification of accidents]:

LORD HAWKE

This only puts the point in new words. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 68, line 21, leave out from ("shall") to end of line 24 and insert (", so soon as it comes to the knowledge of the responsible person, be given by him to the inspector for the district and the person nominated as aforesaid").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 115, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 116 agreed to.

Clause 117 [Power to apply to diseases provisions as to notification of accidents]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

The next Amendment is drafting. I beg to move. Page 69, line 7, leave out ("unaware") and insert ("not aware").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 117, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 118 agreed to.

Clause 119 [Site of accident or other dangerous occurrence to be left undisturbed]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK moved to leave out Clause 119 and to insert the following new clause:

Site of accident or other dangerous occurrence to be left undisturbed

"119. Where there occurs at a mine or quarry an accident or other occurrence (being in either case one of which notice is required by this Act to be given), no person shall disturb the place where it occurred or tamper with anything thereat before—

  1. (a) the expiration of three clear days after notification of the accident or other occurrence in accordance with this Act; or
  2. (b) that place has been both visited by an inspector and inspected in exercise of the powers in that behalf conferred by the provisions of this Act relating to workmen's inspections;
whichever first occurs:

Provided that—

  1. (i) nothing in this section shall prohibit the doing of anything by or with the consent of an inspector; and
  2. (ii) in any proceedings taken in respect of a contravention of this section consisting of the doing of any act, it shall be a defence to prove that the doing of that act was necessary for securing the safety of the mine or quarry or persons thereat."

The noble Earl said: This Amendment is in fulfilment of an undertaking given by my right honourable friend in regard to the inspection of sites following accidents. The undertaking was to give the workmen's inspector the right to inspect sites, and to make disturbance of the site subject to the consent of the inspector. What we have done is to lay down that the site will remain undisturbed for three days unless visited by the inspector and the workmen's inspector at an earlier date. This, however, is subject to two considerations: first of all, essential safety of persons in the mine and, secondly, permission of the inspector to allow the site to be cleared out. I suggest that this is the practical way of dealing with the matter. Unfortunately, accidents are of a great variety of character. In some cases the site is very important; in others it is not. I think it would be ridiculous to impose an unreasonable obstruction upon the coal miner or the coal industry in getting on with the work. What we have done here is to grant for the first time a right for the workmen's inspector to visit the site before it is disturbed and, secondly, the absolute discretion of the inspector to permit the clearing of the site when he thinks such course reasonable. Everyone has an interest in investigating accidents, and I am quite certain that the National Coal Board and the inspectors have a real interest in retaining the confidence of the men through the inspection of the working. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Leave out Clause 119 and insert the said new clause.—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR

This is an Amendment which deserves a special word of commendation. It does two things which are necessary in the coal industry. First, it raises the status of the workmen's inspector, which was very necessary because he sometimes felt that he was not anybody that mattered in the industry. It also creates amongst the workers themselves a very necessary thing—a consciousness of safety in the mines. We welcome this Amendment most heartily.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 120 [Power of Minister to require special report on accident or other dangerous occurrence]:

5.53 p.m.

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment is little more than drafting. In Clause 115 we provide for the notification of accidents causing death or serious bodily injury. Under Clause 116, where the Minister thinks that any special class of occurrence is so dangerous that notice should be given, he may order it to be notifiable under Clause 115. In Clause 120 it is not, therefore, necessary to qualify the word "occurrence" with the word "dangerous," as unless it were of the class already described as dangerous by the Minister under Clause 116 it would not be covered by Clause 120, which deals only with notifiable accidents or occurrences. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 70, line 3, leave out ("dangerous occurrence (being an accident or occurrence") and insert ("occurrence (being in either case one").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment is consequential. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 70, line 6, leave out ("to the accident or occurrence") and insert ("thereto").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 120, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 121 [Power of Minister to direct public inquiry into accident or other dangerous occurrence]:

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment is consequential. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 70, line 11, leave out from ("other") to ("of") in line 12 and insert ("occurrence at a mine or quarry (being in either case one ").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This is a transference from the First Schedule. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 70, line 15, at end insert— ("(3) Where the Minister directs a public inquiry to be held into such an accident or other occurrence as aforesaid in Scotland, being one causing the death of any person, no inquiry with regard to that death shall, unless the Lord Advocate otherwise directs, be held in pursuance of the Fatal Accidents Inquiry (Scotland) Act, 1895.").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 121, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 122 [Inspections of mines and quarries on behalf of workmen employed thereat]:

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment is consequential on the last one I moved. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 70, line 38, leave out ("dangerous occurrence (being an accident or occurrence") and insert ("occurrence being in either case one").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment is consequential on the new Clause 119. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 71, line 5, leave out lines 5 to 7.—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question. Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment is consequential on the new Clause 132. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 71, line 24, leave out ("mine or quarry") and insert ("office at the mine or quarry or at such other place as may be approved by an inspector;").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment is consequential. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 72, line 16, leave out ("kept at the mine or quarry for that purpose") and insert ("provided for that purpose by the owner of the mine or quarry").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 122, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 123 [Prohibition of employment below ground in certain cases]:

5.55 p.m.

LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR moved, after subsection (1) to insert: (2) From the date of the coming into operation of this Act, no female shall be employed at a mine or any work involving the getting, processing or preparation of coal unless she was in the employment of the mine on that date.

The noble Lord said: This is an Amendment which has received quite a lot of publicity, and we had better be quite clear as to its terms. It does not mean the total prohibition of female labour on the colliery surface—they can still remain in certain jobs there. Nor does it mean that anyone now working in jobs which will be prohibited if this Amendment were carried will cease until she wishes to cease. That needs to be made perfectly plain. Following the noble Earl's visit to Lancashire, to an area where I spent the whole of my mining life—many friends of mine reported back to me regarding his visit, a visit which was enjoyed and which they felt did a certain amount of good—it was suggested by one of the Wigan papers, I think, that some lady employed on this type of work was sorry that she was going to be sacked. She did not know at her time of life what she would turn to. Nobody will be sacked because of this Amendment. Women may continue to work on the surface as long as they wish, apart from the jobs specified in the Amendment. I hope I have made it clear that those who now enjoy working there, as they say they do, will be able to continue their employment until they decide themselves that they are going to discontinue it. But I question whether women should be doing these jobs, and that is the question we have to face.

In another place I felt that there was much extraneous argument on both sides of the debate. I place great value on people seeking the jobs they want. I do not like the idea of being told, "No, you cannot apply for this or that job." I can understand the argument that that would be interfering with the freedom of choice of jobs. But in an industry like the coal industry it is necessary to some extent to restrict the freedom. You have to say that people under a certain age may not go near the pits, or that under a certain age a youth can work on the surface but not underground. A century ago we told our womenfolk that they could go underground, but now they may not. These limitations will always apply. It is a question of which type of work females ought to be doing.

I do not know how far your Lordships are acquainted with these conditions. My noble friend Lord Hall and I have had to live amongst them. Like myself, my noble friend was a Miners' Federation official and had to deal with this particular type of case. We have always resented it, but in Lancashire they took a different view in 1911. There were those who were in favour of female labour doing this kind of work and those against. In 1911, those in favour carried the day. I can quite see that the Lancashire miners and their wives to-day are not in favour of females working at collieries. Since the visit of the noble Earl I put a question to the General Secretary who accompanied the noble Earl, as I thought I had better be quite clear on this. I asked: "What is the position of the Lancashire and Cheshire area of the National Union of Mineworkers? Where do they stand now on this issue?" He assured me that there is no section of the National Union of Mineworkers which is more against women being employed on this kind of work than the members in Lancashire. So there is no division there now; they are united.

What has happened is this: other districts have been more successful. There are three districts left, and there are more women employed in Lancashire than anywhere else. Over 400 women are still employed in Lancashire—the number has come down from over 1,000 in the last few years. We feel that it is not suit- able ork for women. Here again I refer to my letter from the General Secretary, who says: … some have to perform on heavy coal belts which could and have brought about hernia, with all its after-effects There are certain types of jobs being done by females on the surface now which we do not think should be continued. We do not feel it is the place for them. We do not feel they should be working there, among the dust, doing that type of work. We have such a respect for our womenfolk that we do not think it is the place for them. There is one case in Lancashire which has disturbed a great many of us. A woman Member of the other place said, in regard to these accidents, that "One swallow does not make a summer." I think that was a callous thing to say, especially by a woman in the other place. There is one actual case of pneumoconiosis in Lancashire; one person, a woman, died from pneumoconiosis. If there is a possibility of contracting a dreadful disease on the surface we ought at least to safeguard our females from it. I have ascertained the name of the woman who died from pneumoconiosis—Miss Stretch.

It is considerations of that kind which concern us, plus one other. In the industry there are men below ground subject to pneumoconiosis; there are men who are recovering from the effects of injury, men who could do this work. This could be a means of enabling disabled men to find the light jobs which are recommended medically and which cannot be found elsewhere. We have seen the pros and cons, after reading the debate in another place, and speaking from our experience we still feel that female labour on such jobs, specifically in the employment to which I am referring and no other, is wrong. We want to confine our discussion to my Amendment and not get involved in female labour generally on the surface, only the work involved in the "getting, processing or preparation of coal." That is what I have in mind; only those jobs and no others.

The noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, I thought very kindly, agreed to make visits, and they were strenuous visits for him. He travelled well in Lancashire and Scotland. I am not going to attempt to deal with the report of his visit; that he will make himself. But I do hope the Government will treat this matter seriously. It is no use their telling us that some women's organisation outside the industry are concerned about the freedom of our womenfolk. There is no organisation in this country more concerned than the miners' union. We have to have a sense of responsibility in dealing with this question of women on this kind of job. As regards the noble Earl's visit, it may have confirmed the views which he expressed on the Second Reading—I hope that it did not. The Coal Board themselves are not happy on this issue. It may be said that we shall find that, bit by bit, the Coal Board will get rid of the womenfolk. But what we want is a specific provision in the Bill that womenfolk cannot be engaged. We have no objection to the women there, and they can stay there; but once they leave, no women should be engaged in their place. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 72, line 30, at end insert— ("(2) From the date of the coming into operation of this Act, no female shall be employed at a mine or any work involving the getting, processing or preparation of coal unless she was in the employment of the mine on that date.")—(Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor.)

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

May I say, straight away, that any Amendment on a subject like this, on which the noble Lord speaks with authority, will be, examined extremely seriously by the Government. Of that I can assure him. But what is involved here is really a head-on meeting of two great crusading movements. On the one hand, there are those who have fought for a long time to establish that nobody should be compelled for economic reasons to do undesirable work. On the other hand, there is the undertaking which we made in the Declaration of Human Rights, that everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and protection against unemployment.

VISCOUNT HALL

Even in the coal mines?

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

That is what is declared in the Declaration of Human Rights. This is not a perfect world; I am sure the noble Lord will acknowledge that. That Declaration is regardless of sex; it applies not only to men; it applies equally to men and women. But I do not propose to discuss this on the theoretical level; what your Lordships want is the facts of this case. The noble Lord has said that in some cases we do prohibit women from certain employment. We restrict their employment in certain circumstances, and we restrict the type of employment. You will see it in this Bill. For instance, women must not be employed undergound; and they must not strain themselves. I have never been quite clear why men should be allowed to strain themselves, but that is by the way. At any rate, it is a statutory offence for women to strain themselves. If a woman does lift a heavy burden she is really committing a statutory offence. We also restrict their employment at night.

The real point I want to emphasise is that whenever we restrict their employment, we do it for a perfectly specific and definite reason. I listened very carefully to the noble Lord, Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor, and, with great respect, I consider he gave no reason at all which I should say was specific as to why women should not be employed on this work. He mentioned pneumoconiosis. When anyone suffers from that dreadful disease, of course it is most unfortunate. What he did not mention was this. At the present time, under the Pneumoconiosis Benefit Scheme, which was passed by this Government, there are thirty-three women in receipt of total disablement benefits. Not one of them comes from the coal industry. Eighteen come from the pottery industry, fourteen from the asbestos industry and one from sand blasting.

LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR

There has been one from the coal mining industry.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I agree. But are you going to exclude the women from the pottery, the asbestos and the sand blasting industries? The noble Lord greatly underestimates women. I have never heard that women wanted to be excluded from work because the danger involved is the same as it is for men. Have you ever heard women asking to be excluded from fever hospitals? Where they ask to be protected is where the danger they face is greater than for men. That is a very material difference indeed. The noble Lord asked me to go and see the women working, and I have done so. I should like to take this opportunity of thanking the National Coal Board for letting me see everything, and also thank the National Union of Mineworkers for meeting me there, and the very interesting conversation I had there which I greatly appreciated. I should like to make it perfectly clear that I am not an authority on the employment of women and I did not do more than visit the place for my information. I would not interfere in any way in the administration of the National Coal Board and the National Union of Mineworkers in this matter or any other.

The work consists simply in picking out stones from the coal on a moving belt, after the smaller coal has been removed. The work, as I saw it, was under cover. It was certainly noisy and it was certainly dusty; the women worked in overalls provided by the National Coal Board. There are two points at which I looked particularly: first, the amenities, whether they had proper washing facilities, canteens, rest rooms and facilities of that character; secondly, the nature of the supervision. I looked particularly to see whether there was some sort of female supervision over the women. So far as the general amenities were concerned, I was fully satisfied with what the National Coal Board provided. I understand that in the great majority of the mines concerned special regulations exist which lay down the type and nature of those amenities. I think we can rest assured that this matter is fairly well covered, so far as amenities are concerned.

With regard to supervision, although there is no standard arrangement, the actual situation prevailing in each pit I visited appeared to me to be satisfactory. Sometimes there was a surface foreman in charge, and sometimes there was someone in the canteen. I asked my right honourable friend to write to the National Coal Board to see whether in fact the arrangements were satisfactory. He has received a letter saying that the National Coal Board will undertake a survey of the arrangements at each pit and make adjustments where they are found to be necessary. This seems to me to be satisfactory. This particular act is due to the initiative of the noble Viscount, Lord Hall. But for that, the National Coal Board's attention would not have been directed to the point.

Now let me say a word on the views of the girls themselves, which are not unimportant. I went through seven pits, both in Scotland and in Lancashire, which employed women. The girls were absolutely unanimous that they liked their job. I think this was most important: that quite a number of them had been employed on other work and they were very strong in expressing the view that they preferred working on the picking tables. In particular, I met a woman who had been working in a mill in Lancashire. She could not work in the mill because it made her feel ill, whereas working at the table she felt Very well. She looked to me extremely well, handsome, and, in fact, bonnier than the average girl one sees walking round London. I am talking now about Lancashire and Scotland. I do not make any distinction. Then one finds mothers and daughters working at the pits; and one finds wives and husbands working at the same pit, though not necessarily together. I find it difficult to believe that, if there was something undesirable of this character, you would find that sort of thing going on. I sought to see whether there was any other reason why this work should be prohibited to women, and particularly whether the proximity of men and women together might lead to familiarity which would be undesirable. I can only say that the investigations and inquiries which I made satisfied me entirely that there was not the slightest shred of justification for any suggestion of that character.

There is, however, one matter of concern to the industry—and, to my mind, this point made by the noble Lord, Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor, is a very real point—and that is the employment of older miners. I accept readily that that is a most difficult problem. It is one of which I am certain that the National Union of Mineworkers and the National Coal Board are very conscious indeed. I suggest, however, that these are problems which can be solved individually. When it comes to individual pits, with this problem and that problem, there would not, I am sure, be a great deal of difference of opinion between the National Union of Mineworkers and the National Coal Board. But that is not really an answer; it is not really a ground on which to say that women are to be excluded from this type of work. I do not think there can possibly be a justification. That is essentially a matter of administration between the National Union of Mineworkers and the National Coal Board. This work is to many women most favourable from the point of view of location and hours. The hours are, of course, unusual, in the sense that they start early in the morning and finish at 2 o'clock to 2.30 in the afternoon. It is difficult for women who run their own households. This, however, is my own personal view: I wonder whether it is really in the interests of the coal industry to suggest that it is such a rough and rugged industry that it is a crime against society for any women to be encouraged to work at the pithead, however lightly. I do not think that that is a fair presentation of the coal industry, certainly as it is to-day.

I formed the opinion that these girls wanted to work there and that they were doing a job which any girl could do, if she felt like it, and I do not feel justified in interfering there. In the rather humorous way that the German has when talking of his own country, a German once said to me: "Here in Germany everything which is not permitted is forbidden." We have not got quite so far as that in this country and I do not think we need to. I feel that this is a matter which, as the noble Viscount has said, will resolve itself in detail. And when I say "resolve itself," I mean, "resolve itself to the satisfaction of everybody." I do not think that we need interfere on a statutory basis in a matter which, I suggest, is essentially administrative. I hope the noble Viscount will withdraw this Amendment.

6.17 p.m.

VISCOUNT HALL

I am sure that all noble Lords have listened to the speech of the noble Earl with a good deal of interest. It is an excellent argument for the opening of jobs underground in the pits for women. A hundred years ago, in 1842, one of the great statesmen of the country introduced legislation to prevent women and girls from being employed in the pits, and his name will always resound in the hearts And minds of miners as long as they read the history of the mining industry. If there is to be freedom for women, then why prohibit their working underground? I feel quite as strongly about this matter as I did when we last discussed it in this House. I am grateful to the noble Earl for taking the trouble to visit the mines in Lancashire and some of the Scottish mines. I also, during the Recess, went back to my own mine, where there are no women employed. Indeed, out of the twenty actual mining districts in this country, there are only three where women are employed—namely, Lancashire, which employs 690, Cumberland, which employs 150, and Scotland, which employs 150. It is quite true that they are a diminishing number. That is why we are so anxious not to interfere with those women. I have no doubt that the ancestors of those women may have worked at the pithead and many of them probably worked underground, and they have just carried on that tradition in that way.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

Not underground.

VISCOUNT HALL

I am referring to their ancestors. Their ancestors did in many cases.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

Yes.

VISCOUNT HALL

I have met many women who worked underground. They did not work during my lifetime. They worked in their early days. Some were employed underground at the age of seven. Saving them from that is, of course, what Shaftesbury did. The noble Earl said that my noble friend gave little information or points. Whatever the noble Earl saw in Lancashire and Scotland, may I refer to some of the speeches which were made in another place when this matter was discussed, not by persons who made a casual visit and saw some of the women there but by men who have actually been employed on the screens underground for something like thirty to thirty-five years before they came to another place? We have one description by Mr. Blyton from Durham, who says: In Committee, it was argued that there must be freedom of employment. If there is freedom of employment… why not down the pit? Is there freedom of employment for the hangman's job? He goes on to say: This Bill does not take away women from the dirty, filthy and obnoxious jobs at the pitheads. … I cannot understand the attitude of the Government in respect of this matter. Those are the words of a man who is still living near these collieries. Another very respected miner, who now sits in another place, has said: I happen to represent a mining constituency"— which is in Lancashire— that employs most of the women. … From what I have witnessed as a practical miner, as one who has been called upon to investigate many accidents, as a miner's agent and as a lodge secretary, I must say that I can never bring my mind to think that employment on the screens for women was suitable work. That was said by Mr. Tom Brown, from Lancashire. Then Miss Herbison, from Scotland, says: I shall have the support of all my honourable friends on this side of the House and of honourable Members on the other side of the House, too, to ensure that this surface work, which is most uncongenial, is no longer left for the women to do. Here is this evidence from two of the coalfields where women are employed. I spent some time at the screens. There is not quite so much dust as there was formerly. Dust repression at the coal face has cut down the amount of dust at the screens by something like 20 to 30 per cent. But there is dust. It is dirty, it is dangerous, it is draughty and it is noisy work. Surface accidents at the collieries of this country last year were: 48 fatal accidents, 195 serious accidents and 22,300 accidents disabling workpeople for more than three days. These women have to pass over the pithead, over the pit surface, to get down to the screens. In regard to the screens themselves, and people handling machinery, loose coal and stone, there were last year four fatal accidents, 9 serious accidents, and 5,000 accidents which disabled people, men and women, for more than three days.

The Minister or Government cannot justify continuation of this kind of employment for women—indeed they are not happy about it. In the classification in this Bill, on every occasion when they are referring to youths and young persons, they bring in the women. Clause 93 says that women shall not be employed at a mine to lift, carry or move a load so heavy as to be likely to cause injury to that woman or young person Who is to stand by and judge the weight of the lift which the women are to make? The noble Earl, rightly, said that some women regard themselves as quite as strong and physically fit as men; that if there is a stone on the belt passing through, and a woman and a man are there and the woman is nearer the stone than the man, we may depend upon it that she will not let it by; she will lift it out to show the man that she can do it. That is the argument which the noble Earl himself put up.

Clause 124 says that women and young persons, exclusive of intervals allowed for meals, shall not work in excess of nine hours in any one day, or forty-eight hours for the week, nor be employed continuously for a spell of more than four and a half hours without an interval of at least half an hour for a meal and rest. From what I saw on the screens, I should not like to remain at work for nine hours in that dust and filth and noise, to have half an hour at the end of four and a half hours, and then to work for another four and a half hours. Then again, Clause 125 lays down that women or young persons shall neither begin earlier than six a.m. nor end later than ten p.m., or on Saturdays two p.m.: and a female or male young person who has not attained the age of sixteen employed above ground at a mine, not later than nine p.m. That means that, where women are employed, there are girls under sixteen years of age doing this kind of work. If that is so, how many girls of that age have been driven there for economic reasons, to work at this most uncongenial, dirty and filthy work?

I have had a protest sent to me from the Status of Women Committee. They have protested against the classifying of women with young persons. Even the Government themselves do not classify women with adult males. In every classification, in every reference to classification, the women who are employed are classified, irrespective of their age, with young men under eighteen year of age, some of them under sixteen years of age. This is what the Status of Women Committee say: (My Committee protests against the classification of women with young persons Part VIII) and, moreover, against special protection for women which will appear to be equally necessary for men workers, for example in clause in Part III, which provides that a women shall not be employed to lift, carry or move a load so heavy as to be likely to cause her injury. There is that fact to which the noble Earl referred—that a woman con- siders herself, and perhaps rightly so, as strong and as physically fit as a man. How is legislation going to prevent her from lifting lumps of coal and stone which will injure her?

I have stated that out of twenty coal mining districts in Great Britain in only three are women employed. There is no economic problem here at all. These women are fewer than 1,000 in number. There is sufficient work at the pithead—more congenial work, such as work in canteens, work in offices, upon which girls of fifteen and sixteen can be employed, because there is a dearth of clerks. Indeed, as to the work available as a result of the women leaving, many of the men who are unable to be employed, or to follow their employment at the coal face and underground, could be put into these jobs. I should hate the thought that there is to be a continuation of this practice. This clause is the one blot on an otherwise excellent Bill, a Bill for the introduction of which the miners are indeed grateful to Her Majesty's Government. I have not met a single miner, or indeed a mining engineer, throughout the whole of my travels, who will not say that the work at the pit tops on the screens is unsuitable for women.

The National Union of Mineworkers, representing over 700,000 men, strongly presses that the continued employment of girls and women in this dirty, dusty, dangerous, uncongenial and altogether unsuitable work should be stopped. We do not want to stop those at present employed, as has been made clear to the Government by my noble friend Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor. It is over forty years since the last comprehensive Miners Bill was passed. It may be that the same period will pass before another is introduced. Here is an opportunity for the Government to take that step forward which will crown the efforts of Lord Shaftesbury in 1842. By that action in 1842, Britain took a lead in establishing the respect and dignity of women. I say that Britain should now take the lead in prohibiting the employment of any more women in this work, and I maintain what I said when this matter was last discussed: that there are many jobs in a pit which are much more congenial than these jobs at the screens. I beg the Government to think again and not to allow this blot to remain upon a Bill which we all welcome.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

It is quite clear that in certain respects we do restrict the employment of women. The reason we restrict them, for instance, from underground working, is because it was thought to injure them to do heavy work. That was the original reason, and it remains. It may be that it was unwise, for certain work purposes, to classify women with young persons, but it is only what the International Labour Office does. I should like to contrast what the noble Lord, Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor was saying about the possibilities of anyone having to leave the mining industry for medical reasons with his readiness to throw out women, just because the noble Viscount, Lord Hall, thinks the work too uncongenial, or because a Mr. Tom Brown considers it not suitable work for women to carry out.

VISCOUNT HALL

And 700,000 miners in this country share the views of Mr. Tom Brown and myself—the noble Earl cannot minimise that.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I do not minimise it. I merely say that, so far as I am aware, every single woman actually engaged in this work holds a directly opposite view to that of Mr. Brown and the noble Viscount, Lord Hall. That is the position. What should the Government do? Are we really to throw these women out, as you are suggesting?

VISCOUNT HALL

We are not asking that.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

The noble Viscount, Lord Hall, is a very humane man. If he thought these women were suffering damage he would tell them to stop now. The whole weakness of his case lies in the fact that he is not turning women away from the picking tables now. If they were really injuring themselves, the noble Viscount, Lord Hall, would not tolerate their continuing for a minute.

VISCOUNT HALL

We thought Her Majesty's Government would be prepared to compromise, as we are prepared to compromise. If we were satisfied that in the course of the next ten, fifteen or twenty years it would be brought about, that would be better than allowing the practice to continue for a further forty or fifty years before other legislation might be introduced.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I, too, think it is very unlikely to last. It may be true to say that only a few women like this work; but some do. I think it fair to say that there has been no known fatal accident in recent years among women at the picking tables. I shall be very grateful if the noble Lord can see his way to withdraw this Amendment to avoid a Division.

LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR

I am sorry. I have been pleased to accommodate on previous occasions, but I cannot withdraw it, because I feel too strongly about it. We are dissatisfied and far from convinced.

On Question, Amendment negatived.

Clause 123 agreed to.

Clauses 124 and 125 agreed to.

Clause 126 [Periods of employment of male young persons over sixteen]:

6.36 p.m.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This Amendment touches a small point, dealing with the hours at which young male persons should work. The only effect of it is that if there is to be any variation in the limits in regard to coal mines, it will require the consent of the Minister or inspector. It is a little more than drafting. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 74, line 9, leave out from the first ("of") to ("by") in line 12 and insert ("any mine or quarry, the responsible person, if authorised so to do, may").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

The following Amendments are consequential. I beg to move.

Amendments moved—

Page 74, line 16, after ("to") insert ("all")

Page 74, line 22, after ("to") insert ("all")

Page 74, line 27, at end insert— ("Provided that where, in relation to a mine or quarry, a direction is given under each of the foregoing paragraphs, the directions shall be void if their combined effect is to extend the period of employment of the young persons employed at the mine or quarry by more than one hour. Authority for the giving of directions under this subsection may be given—

  1. (i) in the case of all mines or quarries or mines or quarries of any class, by order of the Minister;
  2. (ii) in the case of a particular mine or quarry, by notice served by an inspector on the responsible person.")—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 126, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 127 agreed to.

Clause 128 [Special temporary exception as respects coal-mines in Durham, Northumberland and Warwick]:

LORD HAWKE

This is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 75, line 22, leave out ("coal mines") and insert ("mines of coal").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 128, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 129 agreed to.

Clause 130 [Register of women and young persons employed]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This is an Amendment that we have had a number of times before. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 76, line 21, after ("quarry") insert ("or at such other place as may be approved by an inspector").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This, too, is drafting. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 76, line 23, leave out ("age") and insert ("date of birth").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 130, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 131 agreed to.

Clause 132 [Provision, preservation and inspection of books containing reports]:

6.41 p.m.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This Amendment is submitted to fulfil an undertaking given by my right honourable friend in another place. The Amendment is with regard to the keeping of books and I have mentioned the matter already. There are some workings at which there are no suitable places for keeping books and it is desirable that they should be kept somewhere else. If they were left at the place where the work is carried on they might very well be stolen over the week-end. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 77, line 36, leave out Clause 132 and insert the following new clause:

Form of official books and preservation and inspection of entries therein

"132.—(1) Every book which, in pursuance of this Act or regulations, is provided by the owner of a mine or quarry for the purpose of the entry therein of any report, record or other item of information shall be in such form as the Minister may direct.

(2) Every entry made in any such book as aforesaid or a copy of that entry shall be preserved until the expiration of twelve months after the date on which it was made or such other period (whether longer or shorter) as may be prescribed for an entry of any class, and, until no longer required to be preserved, shall be kept at the office at the mine or quarry to which it relates or at such other place as may be approved by an inspector and be open to inspection by, or by a person authorised in that behalf in writing by, any person employed at that mine or quarry."—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 133 [Preservation and inspection of copies of written appointments made by mine or quarry manager]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This is drafting. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 78, line 13, after the first ("of") insert ("subsection (1) of").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This is really drafting also. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 78, line 25, leave out from ("the") to end of line 32 and insert ("office at the mine or quarry to which that appointment is referable or at such other place as may be approved by an inspector and be open to inspection by, or by a person authorised in that behalf in writing by, any person employed at that mine or quarry").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 133, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 134 [Provision of copies of this Act and other instruments]:

LORD HAWKE

In this clause we provide that there shall be suitable covered accommodation at the mine or quarry for the employees to be able to read copies of this Act and various regulations, and so on. As drafted, the clause says that in this covered accommodation there "shall be provided at all times a copy of this Act," and various instruments. We do not think it right or necessary that these papers should be provided when there is no employee at work in the mine or quarry. Therefore we propose to qualify the wording of the clause with the words: "At all times at which persons are employed …" I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 78, line 33, leave out from the beginning to ("suitable") in line 34 and insert, ("At all times at which persons are employed at a mine or quarry there shall be provided thereat or near thereto").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

The next Amendment is consequential. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 78, line 35, leave out ("at all times").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

The papers covered under this clause include the Act, orders, regulations, transport rules, support rules and managers' rules for conducting the mine. We think that there ought to be added to this list of papers any notices served by the inspector on the manager, such as notices of special provisions or additional requirements imposed on the manager by the inspector. The Minister gave some undertaking in Standing Committee on this point, and this Amendment is designed to fulfil that undertaking. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 78, line 38, after the second ("rules") insert (",any notice served under or by virtue of this Act by an inspector on the responsible person").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 134, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 135 [Posting of notices]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK moved to leave out Clause 135 and to insert the following new clause:

Posting of Notices

"135.—(1) At all times at which persons are employed at a mine or quarry there shall be kept posted thereat—

  1. (a) a notice of the name of the mine or quarry, the name and address of the owner thereof and the name or names of the manager or managers thereof;
  2. 700
  3. (b) a notice of the name and address of the inspector for the district; and
  4. (c) a notice specifying the situation of the accommodation provided in pursuance of the last foregoing section.

(2) Where, in the case of a mine or quarry,—

  1. (a) regulations affecting it are made; or
  2. (b) a notice is served under or by virtue of this Act by an inspector on the responsible person;
notice of the making of the regulations or, as the case may be, of the service of the notice (specifying the regulations or, as the case may be, indicating the general nature of the notice) shall be kept posted at the mine or quarry at all times during the period of six months next following the making or service of the regulations or notice at which persons are employed at the mine or quarry.

(3) All notices required by this section to be posted at a mine or quarry shall be posted in such characters and in such positions as to be easily seen and read by the persons employed thereat, and if a form is specified by the Minister for any such notice, it shall be posted in that form."

The noble Earl said: This Amendment is to implement an undertaking given by my right honourable friend in another place. It makes one or two alterations in regard to what I describe as the posting board. If I might distinguish between Clause 134 and this clause, I would point out that Clause 134 deals with the reading room where all documents are to be available. We thought that at the side of the reading room there should be set up a board upon which any new notice of exemption or consent or any instruction should be posted, and that it should remain there for six months. We make one or two alterations by this new clause. It is intended essentially to enable attention to be drawn to any new information. I do not think there is anything else I need say with regard to this Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Leave out Clause 135 and insert the said new clause.—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR

This is a very small matter, but we ask: Why limit the period to six months? We say there is no reason for such a limitation. Why not leave the notices in position as long as the quarry or the mine is in existence? We consider it is important that each worker shall be able to see these things from time to time. We can see no reason why the period of exhibition of the notices should be limited to six months. I do not know whether the noble Earl has a good reason to give us. I beg to move my Amendment to the noble Earl's Amendment.

Amendment to the Amendment moved— Line 8, of subsection (2) of the new clause, leave out from ("during") to the end of the subsection and insert ("which the regulations or notice shall affect the mine or quarry").—(Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor.)

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I do not seriously believe that our object in this matter is different from that of noble Lords opposite, but we have come to a diametrically opposite conclusion, and I will tell the noble Lord why. We say that if you put up a notice and it stays there as long as the mine or the quarry is in existence you will do two things. First of all, you will clutter up the notice board—and, be it remembered, it is only a notice board. We are not here dealing with the reading room, which is a covered room somewhere else. If you put up every notice dealing with exemptions and instructions and so on, you will clutter up your board. A lot of regulations will in fact be in operation the whole time a mine is in existence. We consider that this notice board ought to be for the purpose of allowing the people who are working there to learn when something new comes along. It might be a new instruction, perhaps from the inspector, or from the Minister. We think it must be confined to a few notices. All we are concerned about is to see that the up-to-date information is available as easily as possible and that everything else may be found in the reading room. We consider that that is the better way of doing it, and I should be grateful if the noble Lord would withdraw his Amendment.

LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR

In view of the statement now made, because our points are the same, and all we want is that the workmen should know, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment to the Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 136 agreed to.

Clause 137 [Periodical returns by owners]:

LORD HAWKE

The next two Amendments are for clarification. I beg to move.

Amendments moved—

Page 79, line 42, leave out from first ("of") to ("if ") in line 43 and insert ("every owner of mines or quarries")

Page 79, line 46, leave out ("mine or quarry") and insert ("mines or quarries which he owns").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

6.52 p.m.

LORD HAWKE moved to leave out subsection (2) and to insert: (2) No returns, statistics or other information obtained under the foregoing subsection shall, without the consent in writing of the person carrying on the undertaking to which the returns, statistics or other information relate, be disclosed except—

  1. (a) with the consent of the Minister, to a government department for the purposes of the exercise by them of any of their functions; or
  2. (b) in the form of a summary of similar returns, statistics or other information furnished by a number of owners of mines or quarries, being a summary so framed as not to enable particulars relating to the undertaking of a particular person to be ascertained therefrom; or
  3. (c) for the purposes of any proceedings for an offence under this Act or any report of any such proceedings."

The noble Lord said: We come to a rather important provision. We are dealing with a clause which lays on the owners of mines and quarries the duty, if directed to do so by the Minister, to supply him with returns and statistics. As the Bill is drafted, the Minister is free to use these as he thinks fit, provided that he manages to disguise their origin in any document he publishes. We do not think this protects the suppliers of figures sufficiently, and we would go further and amend subsection (2) of the clause so that the Minister must not disclose information without the consent of the owner except where he does so to a Government Department, which requires The Minister's consent, or in a summary, so that individual information cannot be identified, or for the purpose of court proceedings under the Bill. This follows the Statistics of Trade Act, 1947. I may add that by Amendment No. 311 we propose to bring under the penalty clause the unlawful disclosure of information received under this clause. I hope your Lordships will think that this is a more reasonable protection for the suppliers of information. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 80, line 1, leave out subsection (2) and insert the said new subsection.—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 137, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 138 [Notification of beginning and cessation of certain mining and quarrying operations]:

LORD HAWKE

The next four Amendments are put forward to be consistent with the definition of mining given in Clause 175. I beg to move.

Amendments moved—

Page 80, line 12, leave out ("producing minerals") and insert ("getting minerals or products thereof")

Page 80, line 29, leave out ("producing minerals") and insert ("getting minerals or products thereof")

Page 80, line 40, leave out ("producing minerals") and insert ("getting minerals or products thereof")

Page 80, line 46, leave out ("producing minerals") and insert ("getting minerals or products thereof").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 138, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 139 agreed to.

Clause 140 [Regulations]:

LORD HAWKE

We think it more proper to speak of animals being "employed" and not "used." I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 81, line 24, leave out ("used") and insert ("employed").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment is for clarification. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 81, line 37, leave out ("and") and insert ("or").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

At first sight the wording of this Amendment looks formidable, but it has not a great deal of consequence. The Amendment makes it possible for the Minister to make regulations for the subdivision of a class of mine. To give an example, as the Bill is drafted at the moment he can make regulations for fire clay mines as a class but he cannot make regulations for the fire clay mines in Yorkshire, because he has no power to make regulations for the subdivision of a class. I hasten to add that my example has no particular significance. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 81, line 38, after ("quarry") insert (",any enactment contained in this Act authorising the making of provision by regulations with respect to mines of a specified class shall be construed as authorising the making of provision extending either to all mines of that class, to mines within any sub-division of that class or to a particular mine of that class."—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

This is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 82, line 11, leave our paragraph (b) and insert:— ("(b) grant exemptions from any of the provisions thereof or provide for the granting of such exemptions by the Minister or an inspector;").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 140, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 141 agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

This Part of the Bill deals with regulations and we thought it appropriate to bring in here the first subsection of Clause 169, which also deals with regulations. In doing so, we reproduce it in somewhat more comprehensible form and add the words: … or varied in their application to a particular mine…. These words make it possible for the Minister to issue general regulations from which individual mines can be exempted by special regulations. Without these words, I understand, he would have no such power. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— After Clause 141, insert the following new clause:

Variation, revocation, &c., of regulations (".—(1) General regulations may—

  1. (a) be varied or revoked by subsequent general regulations;
  2. (b) be rendered wholly or partly inapplicable, or varied in their application, to a particular mine or quarry by special regulations applicable thereto.

(2) Special regulations may be varied or revoked by subsequent special regulations and may be revoked by general regulations, and a provision of general regulations which revokes special regulations shall be deemed not to be a special regulation.").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 142 agreed to.

Clause 143:

General powers of inspectors

143.—(1) An inspector shall, for the purpose of the execution of this Act, have power to do all or any of the following things, that is to say:— (d) ….

(2) A person who—

shall be guilty of an offence.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I am informed that this Amendment is purely drafting. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 83, line 19, leave out paragraphs (a) and (b) and insert— ("(a) at any time (whether by day or by night) to enter a mine, quarry or central recue station and to inspect the whole or any part thereof, anything thereat and any animals employed for the purposes thereof; (b) to make such examination and inquiry as may be necessary—

  1. (i) to ascertain whether, so far as regards a mine, quarry or central rescue station or persons or animals employed thereat, the following are complied with, namely, the provisions of this Act, orders made thereunder and regulations, any direction, prohibition, restriction or requirement given or imposed by a notice served under or by virtue of this Act by an inspector and any condition attached to any exemption, consent, approval or authority granted or given under or by virtue of this Act by the Minister or an inspector; or
  2. (ii) to ascertain any matter appearing to the inspector to affect or relate to the safety or health of persons employed at a mine, quarry or central rescue station or the care or treatment of animals employed thereat and in particular (but without prejudice to 706 the generality of the foregoing words) the causes and circumstances of any accident or other occurrence at a mine or quarry, being one of which notice is required by this Act to be given;").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This Amendment is for clarification. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 83, line 39, leave out ("and") and insert ("or").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

VISCOUNT FURNESS moved, in subsection (1) (d) (ii), after "therein" to insert: Provided that the result of any analysis of a sample, other than a sample of the atmosphere in a mine, taken under this section shall not be admissible as evidence in any prosecution for an alleged contravention in relation to a mine or quarry of any provision of this Act, of an order made thereunder or of regulations or a notice served under or by virtue of this Act by an inspector, unless, insofar as the nature of the sample permits the following requirements have been complied with, that is to say, the inspector taking the sample shall forthwith notify to the manager of the mine or quarry his intention to have it analysed, and shall there and then divide the sample into three parts, shall cause each part to be placed in a container which shall be sealed up and marked and shall—

  1. (a) deliver one part to the manager of the mine or quarry,
  2. (b) retain one part for future comparison, and
  3. (c) if he thinks fit to have an analysis made, submit one part to the analyst;"

The noble Viscount said: This Amendment refers to the taking of samples by inspectors. It is intended to provide for owners safeguards similar to those contained in other legislation. It has been argued that many samples taken by inspectors are incapable of division. This Amendment has been drafted to limit the right of the manager to those cases where this is practicable, and excludes altogether atmospheric samples. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 84, line 13, after ("therein") insert the said proviso.—(Viscount Furness.)

LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR

I do not see the need for this Amendment. To me it looks like a reflection on the inspector. I am sure that is not what the noble Viscount intends, but it does rather seem to reflect on the inspector's intelligence, or at any rate indicates lack of confidence in him. For that reason, I am a little uneasy about it. I will wait and see what the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, has to say about the Amendment.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I believe that we had something rather similar in the Food and Drugs Act, and that there is also a clause in the Factories Act that does something like this. There is obvious fairness in what is suggested here. Particularly with regard to things like food and drugs, in relation to taking a specimen of something offered for sale, it would be reasonable to see whether it contained some undesirable substance. There is obvious fairness in this, but I wonder whether it can be applied in this way to mines, where the circumstances are quite different. In the first place, when an inspector goes in, generally he is investigating an accident, in the sense of a detective trying to find the cause. The second point I should like to make is this. It is easy to talk about specimens of such things as liquid or dust—in this case gas is excluded, though I do not know why—but in other things it is not so easy. If you are dealing with a piece of rope, or an engine, you cannot cut a piece off, because it would not do any good. With regard to liquid, if that is what the noble Viscount has in mind, I see no reason why a man should not take a sample from his own water supply. That is about the only liquid of which I know in a coal mine, although there may be others.

With regard to dust, I think the normal practice is for the owner to take specimens of dust next door to the specimen taken by the inspector. Therefore, I do not think it arises in regard to that. If we look at the remaining categories I have described, it is difficult for an inspector, when acting as a detective, to see what he can divide up. Pieces of paper, charred wood, or something of that sort, obviously cannot be divided up. Often you have a broken rope, but you cannot divide that up. It is difficult to see what could be divided up. I know that the noble Viscount may say that he has put in the words, "in so far as the nature of the sample permits," but at the moment I am doubtful whether it would apply to anything at all. I am anxious to be fair in the matter, but I cannot at the moment see where this Amendment has any application. If the noble Viscount can put forward any case where it has application, we shall be pleased to consider it; but I do not think he will be able to do so.

VISCOUNT FURNESS

In view of what my noble friend the Paymaster General has said, I will withdraw this Amendment now, and perhaps between now and the next stage we can talk about it further.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

The next Amendment is merely a widening of the use of words. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 84, line 14, leave out ("equipment or apparatus") and insert ("machinery, apparatus or other article whatsoever").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 84, line 17, leave out from ("and") to the first ("to") in line 19, and insert ("cause it").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

VISCOUNT FURNESS moved, in subsection (1) (d) (iii) to leave out all words from "test" to the end of the sub-paragraph and to insert instead: but so as not unnecessarily to impede or obstruct the working of the mine or quarry, and any such equipment, if found to be without fault, shall be restored to the mine or quarry or, in the event of its destruction, its equivalent shall be supplied.

The noble Viscount said: The subsection as at present drafted is tantamount to an unqualified right of confiscation of private property, without any redress for the owner. No objection can be taken if the equipment is faulty or dangerous, but the owner should have a right to redress if it proved to be sound. There have been cases as to one of which I have given my noble friend private notice. This Amendment has been drafted so that in the event of such things occurring, the equipment should be restored to the mine or quarry, or, if it has been damaged or destroyed, it should be repaired or replaced. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 84, line 20, leave out from ("test") to end of line 21, and insert the said words.—(Viscount Furness.)

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I will admit straight away that the powers which we give the inspector here are fairly full. This is the question I have to examine: Is this necessary in the interests of safety or health? I think that in this matter one must rely on the bona fides of the inspector, who, after all, is an important man, and one who could not for one moment allow his honour to be tarnished in any sense of the word. Apart from the matter of Parliamentary procedure, what I am concerned with is as to whether this Amendment would act as an impediment to the inspector in making the examinations which may appear to be necessary to him; first, because he must consider whether it will impede the working of a mine; and secondly, because if he damaged equipment in the course of investigation, and then found it without fault, his department might have to find the money and so forth.

The second point made by the noble Viscount was in regard to appropriation. I must make it clear that there is no statutory right here to appropriate other people's property. What there is a right to do is to go into the mine, and take possession of property, and if any property—I say this without absolute authority, but I think I am right—were not returned by the inspector, there would be the right to proceed. The noble Viscount did notify me of a case this morning. We had heard nothing about that case in the Department until I received the noble Viscount's letter. The inspector, after all, is employed by the Minister, and if the man had a genuine complaint, why did he not write to the Minister about it? It is the first I have heard of it. Whether there is any justification in what is in the letter I cannot say. Although, point of fact, the particular machinery in question was without fault, I believe there was successful prosecution in that particular case. I personally feel that there may conceivably be a case where equipment which is perfectly all right is damaged by testing, but I think that is a very rare thing. The normal thing the inspector takes is a piece of rope or something of that character, which it is very unlikely they would want back. There is nothing the mine manager wants to know more than that his ropes are in good order. I suggest that there is not much in this point. The one case which the noble Viscount gave me was superficially good, but I do not think it would bear close scrutiny. I should be grateful if he could withdraw his Amendment.

VISCOUNT FURNESS

In view of what my noble friend has said, I of course beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I think I can say that Amendments Nos. 274 to 276 are little more than drafting. If we take Amendment No. 275, there is one change. Documents which are relevant are allowed to be taken by the inspector. That is what the Amendment provides, whereas the Bill as drafted said that he may take documents which appeared to him to be relevant. We thought that went too wide, because in fact it would mean that even if he thought the mine owner's or the mine manager's letters to his wife were relevant, he could take them. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 84, line 20, leave out ("the equipment or apparatus") and insert ("it").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Amendment moved—

Page 84, line 22, leave out paragraph (e) and insert— ("(e) to require the production of, and to inspect,—

  1. (i) any registers, books, plans or other documents which by, or by virtue of this Act, are required to be kept; and
  2. (ii) any other documents, being documents which are in the possession or under the control of the owner or manager of a mine or the owner or a manager of a quarry and are relevant for the purposes of an examination or inquiry under the foregoing provisions of this section;
(f) to require the manager of a mine to mark on any plan of workings in the mine produced in compliance with a requirement imposed under the last foregoing paragraph the state, as at the time of the imposition of the requirement, of those workings or of such of them as may be specified in the requirement";).—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Amendment moved— Page 84, line 43, leave out ("made") and insert ("imposed").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

7.14 p.m.

VISCOUNT FURNESS moved, in subsection (2) (b), to leave out all words after the word "before" and to insert: an inspector or from answering any question to which an inspector may, by virtue of the foregoing subsection, require an answer; or.

The noble Viscount said: Paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of this clause goes rather far in making it an offence to prevent or attempt to prevent a person from answering any questions put by an inspector. If, however, a person were being asked questions the answer to which might be used in evidence against him, his legal representative might be fully justified in advising his client not to answer. The Amendment, therefore, limits the offence to preventing or attempting to prevent the answering of any question in respect of which the inspector has required an answer, in exercise of his power under paragraph (d) (i) of the foregoing subsection. Any such answer may not, of course, be given in evidence against the person who gave it. I hope that this Amendment may have a better fate than the previous ones which I have moved, and in that hope I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 84, line 46, leave out from ("before") to end of line 47, and insert the said words.—(Viscount Furness.)

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I think the noble Viscount has a point here. In saying that no one may warn him not to speak, I think he was including his legal adviser, who might tell him it would be inadvisable to give evidence which might be used against him. It will be observed that the inspector, in making his investigations, is not handicapped thereby, because he may ask a person any question he may think relevant provided it is not admissible in evidence against him. Therefore, the inspector is not impeded in any way, and the man who is asked questions still receives protection.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 85, line 1, leave out ("due authority") and insert ("permission granted by an inspector").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HAWKE

This is a consequential Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment Moved— Page 85, line 2, leave out ("equipment or apparatus") and insert ("machinery, apparatus or other article").(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 143, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 144 [Power of inspector to require remedy for immediate or apprehended danger]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This is another drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 85, line 22, leave out ("upon") and insert ("on").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 144, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 145 agreed to.

Clause 146 [The Mining Qualifications Board]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This is rather an important Amendment. It is to meet undertakings given by my right honourable friend in another place. Its effect is to take powers to increase the Mining Qualifications Board for three purposes: first, to make the views of another workman in mines available; secondly, to add two more in the event of statutory qualifications being required for metalliferous mines, and, thirdly, to add two more in the event of statutory qualifications being required for metalliferous mines and quarries. That means that the numbers of the Mining Qualifications Board can be raised from seven plus a chairman to twelve plus a chairman. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 86, line 1, leave out ("seven") and insert ("not less than seven nor more than ten").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 86, line 4, at end insert— ("Provided that during any period during which the holding of a certificate granted on the recommendation of the Board is a qualification prescribed by regulations having effect by virtue of Part IV of this Act, the maximum number of the members of the Board, other than the chairman, shall be twelve instead of ten and of the members of the Board two shall be persons appearing to the Minister to have experience in quarrying.")—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 146, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 147 and 148 agreed to.

Clause 149 [Fencing of abandoned and disused mines and of quarries]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

Perhaps I may take all the Amendments to Clause 149 together—I think they are not much more than a certain readjustment to the law. It is intended to give rather better safeguards to the public under Clause 1, to which some drafting Amendments have been made. Here a duty is laid on the owners to fence all pits, other than metalliferous mines which have not been worked since 1872. The effect is to make it a statutory nuisance not to fence the mines, with the exception of metalliferous mines which have not been worked since 1872. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 89, line 15, leave out ("(whether abandoned or not) which") and insert ("which, notwithstanding that it has not been abandoned,").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES

I am informed that there is a misprint in the second line of paragraph (a) of the new subsection (2) and that the word "section" at the end of the line should be "subsection." I will therefore put the Amendment in the correct form.

Amendments moved—

Page 89, line 23, leave out ("producing") and insert ("getting")

Page 89, line 23, at end insert ("or products thereof")

Page 89, line 27, leave out subsection (2) and insert— ("(2) For the purposes of Part III of the Public Health Act, 1936, each of the following shall be deemed to be a statutory nuisance that is to say:—

  1. (a) a shaft or outlet of an abandoned mine (other than a mine to which the proviso to the foregoing subsection applies) or of a mine (other than as aforesaid) which, notwithstanding that it has not been abandoned, has not been worked for a period of twelve months, being a shaft or outlet the surface entrance to which is not provided with a properly maintained device such as is mentioned in that subsection;
  2. (b) a shaft or outlet of a mine to which the proviso to the foregoing subsection applies, being a shaft or outlet with respect to which the following conditions are satisfied, namely—
    1. (i) that its surface entrance is not provided with a properly maintained device such as is mentioned in that subsection; and
    2. (ii) that, by reason of its accessibility from a highway or a place of public 714 resort, it constitutes a danger to members of the public; and
  3. (c) a quarry (whether in course of being worked or not) which—
    1. (i) is not provided with an efficient and properly maintained barrier so designed and constructed as to prevent any person from accidentally falling into the quarry; and
    2. (ii) by reason of its accessibility from a highway or a place of public resort constitutes a danger to members of the public.")

Page 89, line 40, leave out ("of a mine or quarry")

Page 89, line 41, after ("Act") insert ("of a mine or quarry")

Page 89, line 45, after ("owner") insert ("(as so defined)").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 149, as amended, agreed to.

7.21 p.m.

Clause 150 [Offences]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

I think I can say that all the Amendments to this clause are, in effect, drafting. I should perhaps mention how important this clause is as the keystone of the whole of the criminal responsibility throughout the whole Bill. To put it in simple language, the owner, agent, manager, under-manager and any persons treated as temporarily holding these positions are liable if any offence takes place. This has long been fundamental in mining legislation. The Amendments are no more than clarification and also make quite clear that contravention of any direction or prohibition given by an inspector may also be an offence. If I may I will move all the Amendments to Clause 150 together.

Amendments moved—

Page 90, line 21, leave out paragraph (b) and insert:— ("(b) a direction, prohibition, restriction or requirement given or imposed by a notice served under or by virtue of this Act by an inspector; or (c) a condition attached to an exemption, consent, approval or authority granted or given under or by virtue of this Act by the Minister or an inspector;")

Page 90, line 29, leave out from ("of") to ("matters") in line 30 and insert ("statutory responsibilities of the owner")

Page 90, line 30, leave out ("or notice") and insert ("direction, prohibition, restriction, requirement or condition")

Page 90, line 41, leave out paragraph (b) and insert— ("(b) a direction, prohibition, restriction or requirement given or imposed by a notice served under or by virtue of this Act by an inspector; or (c) a condition attached to an exemption, consent, approval or authority granted or given under or by virtue of this Act by the Minister or an inspector;")

Page 91, line 5, leave out from ("of") to ("matters") in line 6 and insert ("statutory responsibilities of the owner")

Page 91, line 6, leave out ("or notice") and insert ("direction, prohibition, restriction, requirement or condition")

Page 91, line 14, leave out from the first ("of") to end of line 15 and insert ("any such contravention")

Page 91, line 23, leave out from first ("of") to ("with") in line 24 and insert ("such a contravention as aforesaid")

Page 91, line 27, leave out subsection (3) and insert ("(3) In the event of a contravention, in relation to a mine, by a person other than one mentioned in subsection (1) of this section, of such a provision as is mentioned in paragraph (a) of that subsection, being a provision which expressly imposes on that person or on persons of a class to which he belongs a duty or requirement or expressly prohibits him or persons of a class to which he belongs or all persons from doing a specified act, the person who contravened that provision, as well as the persons mentioned in the said subsection (1), shall be guilty of an offence, and in the event of a contravention, in relation to a quarry, by a person other than one mentioned in subsection (2) of this section, of such a provision as is mentioned in paragraph (a) of that subsection, being a provision which expressly imposes on that person or on persons of a class to which he belongs a duty or requirement or expressly prohibits him or persons of a class to which he belongs or all persons from doing a specified act, the person who contravened that provision, as well as the persons mentioned in the said subsection (2), shall be guilty of an offence.")

Page 91, line 46, leave out from ("of") to end of line 48 and insert— ("(a) any provision of this Act, of an order made thereunder or of regulations, being a provision which expressly imposes on the owner of the mine or quarry a duty or requirement or a prohibition; or (b) any prohibition, restriction or requirement which, by virtue of a notice served under or by virtue of this Act by an inspector, is expressly imposed on the owner of the mine or quarry; or of a contravention of section three or one hundred of this Act,").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 150, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 151 [Accessories]:

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment is merely correction.

Amendment moved— Page 92, line 6, leave out ("section five of the Summary Jurisdiction (Scotland) Act, 1908") and insert ("section two of the Summary Jurisdiction (Scotland) Act, 1954").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 151, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 152 [Supplementary provisions as to offences]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This is only clarification: you contravene an instruction; you do not contravene a notice.

Amendments moved— Page 92, line 17, leave out ("section five of this Act or a notice served thereunder") and insert ("subsection (1) of section five of this Act, of any condition attached to an approval granted under that subsection or of a direction given by a notice served under subsection (2) of that section")

Page 92, line 19, leave out ("so").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 152, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 153 agreed to.

Clause 154 [Defence available to person charged with offence not committed personally]:

THE EARL OF SELKIRK

This Amendment is consequential on Amendments to Clause 150.

Amendment moved—

Page 93, line 8, leave out from ("of") to end of line 15 and insert— ("(a) a provision of the Act, of an order made thereunder or of regulations, being a provision which expressly imposes on that other person or a person of a class to which, at the time of the contravention, he belonged, a duty or requirement or expressly prohibits him or persons of such a class or all persons, from doing a specified act; or (b) a prohibition, restriction or requirement which by virtue of a notice served under or by virtue of this Act by an inspector is expressly imposed on that other person; it shall be a defence for the person charged to prove that he used all due diligence to secure compliance with the provision, prohibition, restriction or requirement, as the case may be.")

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 154, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 155:

Persons not to be under liability for contraventions which it was impracticable to avoid or prevent

155. It shall be a defence in any legal proceedings to recover damages and in any prosecution, in so far as the proceedings or prosecution are or is based on an allegation of a contravention, in relation to a mine or quarry, of—

  1. (a) a provision of this Act, of an order made thereunder or of regulations (not being a provision which expressly provides that a person is to be guilty of an offence) or
  2. (b) a notice served under or by virtue of this Act by an inspector;
to prove that it was impracticable to avoid or prevent the contravention.

LORD HAWKE

This Amendment is consequential to the Amendments to Clause 150.

Amendment moved—

Page 93, line 23, leave out paragraph (b) and insert— ("b) a direction, prohibition, restriction, or requirement given or imposed by a notice served under or by virtue of this Act by an inspector; or (c) a condition attached to an exemption, consent, approval or authority granted or given under or by virtue of this Act by the Minister or an inspector;").—(Lord Hawke.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

VISCOUNT FURNESS moved to leave out "impracticable" and insert "not reasonably practicable." The noble Viscount said: in moving this Amendment it is not my intention to affect in any way the safety of miners, which is, after all, the primary reason for this Bill. I ask only that, in keeping with the spirit of the Bill, we should not substantially alter the existing position. The change to "impracticable" from "not reasonably practicable" is in my submission a major change. I am no lawyer, but my dictionary tells me that impracticable means not practicable, and that differs little if at all from impossible. It removes the word reasonable and the character of reasonableness, and I should think that that word was a rather important one. Is it really reasonable, with all the meanings of that word, for that word in this connection to be left out of this part of the Bill? I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 93, line 25, leave out ("impracticable") and insert ("not reasonably practicable").—(Viscount Furness.)

EARL JOWITT

Before the Minister replies, I should like to say something about this clause. May I say, incidentally, that in my experience to get to Amendment No. 305 is a record, and may I also say what a good idea it was that we started the numbering of Amendments. That was done during my term, and it is an innovation I am proud to have introduced. I very much hope that the Minister will stand to his guns on this matter and not accept the Amend- ment. It is a subject to which noble Lords on this side of the House and the miners' union attach very great importance indeed. I will try to explain to your Lordships why.

The position, I think, at the present time—I will be corrected if I am wrong—is this. You here impose a code of all sorts of precautions in the interests of safety and life which the miners and managers, and so on, must carry out. But there is an escape clause: if they can prove certain things, they are then excused from the non-carrying out of those obligations. Under the Coal Mines Act of 1911, so far as criminal proceedings are concerned the obligation was precisely similar to that contained in the clause as drafted by the Government. With regard to quarries, as regards both criminal proceedings and civil proceedings, where a man may bring an action for damages, the section was precisely the same as the clause now drafted by the Government. The only exception was in the case of civil proceedings in mines. There, the section was in the form drafted by the noble Viscount opposite in his Amendment.

The question is whether, to get symmetry, we should adopt the words of the Amendment or whether we should apply the general principle which the Government applied in 1911 and have applied throughout in quarries and mines with the exception of the case of an action for damages under the Coal Mines Act. I am sure that I could not give a definition of what is "impracticable." but of this I am certain: that "impracticable" means "not practicable," and if you introduce another word and say "not reasonably practicable" you are obviously, by introducing that third word, making that which is comparatively clear more obscure. I have tried to cast about—I am glad the Lord Chancellor is here, because he has great experience of these things, and I used to have some experience—but I have net found a case reported in the books where a judge has said this, or words to this effect: "I cannot accept the excuse which is proffered by the mine owners for not observing the regulations because I do not consider that they have made out that it was not even practicable; but if the words had been 'not reasonably practicable I should have accepted it." There is no such case, so far as I know. Therefore, one has to try to consider the matter on principle. I would suggest this—the Lord Chancellor will be able to look it up and check it—the strongest word of all is "impossible." I should have thought that next, coming down the hierarchy and not quite so strong as "impossible," is "impracticable"; and then, further still down the hierarchy, "not reasonably practicable." One finds that the few judges who have ever discussed these points got so confused with those terms that one cannot gain very much light or learning from their observations.

There was a very distinguished judge, Mr. Justice Maule. I looked it up this morning and I have his quotation as follows. I got this from Stroud's Judicial Dictionary, which is a book which the Lord Chancellor will know very well: In matters of business, says the judge: a thing is said to be impossible when it is not practicable, and a thing is impracticable when it can only be done at an excessive or unreasonable cost. A man may be said to have lost a shilling when he has dropped it into deep water, though it may be possible by means of some expensive contrivance to recover it. So if a ship sustains such extensive damage that it would not be reasonably practicable to repair her—seeing that the expense of repairs would be such that no man of common sense would incur the outlay—the ship is said to be totally lost. There, it is to be observed that the learned judge uses more or less interchangeably all three phrases—"impossible," "impracticable" and "not reasonably practicable." I have found this further quotation. There was a regulation under the Coal Mines Regulation Act, 1872, which prohibited shot-firing in a mine until the men were out of it. A manager summoned for a breach of that regulation tried to say that he could escape under the words "not reasonably practicable." But the judges said this: A direction that a set of affirmative and negative rules shall be observed so far as is reasonably practicable will not, unless under very special circumstances indeed, apply to the negative rules. 'It is always possible not to do that which you are forbidden to do'. But observe that that seems to imply that it applies only to the negative rules and, even under the negative rules, it presupposes that there may be very special circumstances indeed under which you may be justified in doing that which you are forbidden to do. So far as positive rules, therefore, are concerned, I should infer from that judicial observation that there may be special circumstances in which you are justified in not observing the rules.

The conclusion of the whole matter which I venture to suggest to your Lordships is this: that we ought to make this point as definite and as clear as we can; and that the word "impracticable" (or "not practicable") is obviously and certainly more definite than the phrase "not reasonably practicable," although I say at once that I have been unable—and I believe everybody else will be unable—to assign precise limits to the meaning of either phrase. I am inclined to think—indeed, I feel confident—that the word "reasonably" in the phrase enlarges the ambiguity of the exception, and not merely does it enlarge its ambiguity but it produces some slight sense of uncertainty which is not there without it.

That being so, I would very much rather the Government would adhere to their original intention. I am reinforced in that by reading the cogent arguments, which it would not be in order for me to repeat here, of the then Attorney-General in another place, where he gave clear reasons for preferring the word "impracticable" to the phrase "not reasonably practicable." I have looked up the position in the Factories Act. There is one clause, and I think only one clause, in the Factories Act, 1937, where the words "not reasonably practicable" appear, and in every other clause where this context is dealt with at all the word used is "impracticable." I suggest that the introduction of the qualifying word "reasonably" introduces an element of uncertainty in the matter of safety which will be confusing not merely to lawyers-they do not matter so much—but to workmen, managers, owners and inspectors whose duty it is to administer the law. And in that the law has to be dealt with and administered by those people, I feel that it is very important that we should have this as definite as possible.

Those are the reasons which induce me, as a lawyer, to prefer not to have this element of ambiguity introduced into the clause, but to extend to the civil remedy under the Coal Mines Act what already is the civil remedy under the Quarries Act and what is the criminal position under the Mines Act to-day. Speaking merely as a lawyer on this matter, I think, for reasons I have given, that it is better not to have the word "reasonably" in. Those who know the business of the mines attach great) importance to this point because they know that this clause in the first instance is not going to be construed by lawyers at all; it is going to be a code of behaviour of people in charge of the mines. Therefore they say that it is of the utmost importance, in matters of safety and the welfare of the people, that the Bill should be as definite as possible. I am grateful to the Committee for allowing me to make my remarks now, because I cannot be here on Thursday; and for those reasons I very much hope that the Government will adhere to their original intention. We on this side of the House regard it as a matter of great moment that they shall not depart from the intention which they have expressed and to which they adhered after the Attorney-General had carefully considered the matter in another place.

7.41 p.m.

THE LORD CHANCELLOR (VISCOUNT KILMUIR)

I hope that it will be for the convenience of the Committee if I follow the noble and learned Earl, because it is a point of some difficulty. I am additionally fortified in so doing because I find myself, I think, in general agreement with what he has enunciated as to the law. But may I first, for one moment, try to assuage slightly the fears of my noble friend behind me? One of his fears was that the word "impracticable" was equivalent to "impossible," and cut out any conception of reasonableness or subjectivity in considering the problem. I do not think he need entertain that fear and, if I may put it in this way, as I see the problem of interpretation, there are two negative propositions on which everyone who has considered it has agreed; first, that it has not had the effect of making the employer an insurer in this matter, and secondly, that all those who have considered the word "impracticable" have said quite clearly that it does not mean, and is not equivalent to, "impossible."

We start from these propositions, and again, so far as my researches go, everyone is agreed that there is an element of reasonableness and subjective consideration in the word "impracticable." I am sure that the noble and learned Earl will agree with me that one of the most difficult, and also one of the most dangerous, activities is to try to define too closely or to apply a general matter of this kind without the facts of a particular case in front of one. Therefore, I shall, if I may so put it, be as guarded as he was in that aspect of the matter.

I think that my noble friend who moved this Amendment can take comfort front this fact. He was afraid that we are altering the words of Section 102 (8) in the Coal Mines Act, and that it would be concluded from that that we are making a wide alteration in the sense. I do not think that that applies here. As the noble and learned Earl has pointed out, in the very same section, Section 102, in the other subsection which deals with criminal matters under the Coal Mines Act, the word "impracticable" is used; and the conclusion I draw from that is that if anyone were to say "Here is an alteration in the wording of subsection (8); we must draw a very serious and profound conclusion, from that," they would rather be drawn back to look at subsection (3), and would have to say then, "We cannot take that view." The noble and learned Earl has also pointed out that in numerous other parts of the various Acts which are the parents of this Bill the phrase is used in slightly different terms, but always dealing with this problem.

What we are really trying to do here—and that is I think the nub of the matter which the noble and learned Earl stressed—is to make one provision which is clear and definite, instead of the different provisions we have had in the past; and that one provision deals with the criminal as well as the civil aspects of the matter. So I think that, from the point of view of definiteness, it is an advance to take the line that we are suggesting. I would, however, point out one fact, because I know that my noble friend who moved this Amendment and others of my noble friends are worried in this matter. So far as I can see (and I have tried to consider the various occasions when these terms have been construed), one does get this view of "impracticable" expressed over and over again—namely, that "impracticable" carries the connotation that you have to consider, on one side, the risk against which the safety precautions are instituted, and, on, the other side, the elabora- tion, the labour involved and, it may be in some cases, the expense of putting up these provisions. How the scales tip must, of course, depend on what is in either side of the scale, and I do not think any of your Lordships would object to this view of the matter: that where there is danger to life or limb there will require to be a very heavy weight on the other side of the scales before they are tipped down. But there is that aspect of the matter. I cannot see that it is excluded by the dropping of the word "reasonably", and I think it is only frank that I should put that aspect of the matter before the Committee.

I come now to the other aspect—and this was implicit in the noble and learned Earl's remarks, although he did not actually propound it. I have tried, as I am sure has the noble and learned Earl, to quantify in practical terms the implications of "reasonably." I have totally failed. When one gets to that position, where as I say—and I put the point quite frankly to the Committee—there is that connotation of the word "impracticable" itself, and it is utterly impossible to quantify the difference that "reasonably" makes to the term, then I think there is a great deal to be said for taking the clear and definite course of dropping an adverb the sense of which it is impossible to define. Therefore, I would ask my noble friend not to press this matter. If there is anything in these short remarks of mine which I have not made clear, I shall of course be at his service to discuss it further, as I shall be for any Member of the Committee.

7.50 p.m.

LORD ROCHDALE

Anyone who rises to speak on this matter after the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor and the noble and learned Earl the ex-Lord Chancellor is heading for trouble. I should like to ask this question of my noble friend when he finally replies. Like other noble Lords I looked up the meaning of the word in the big Murray's Dictionary in the Library and I found that "impracticable" was described there as meaning "practically impossible." How many engineers, taking a purely practical approach to this matter, with all the knowledge and experience available to them, would be prepared sincerely to admit, perhaps in retrospect, after some accident, that there were absolutely no possible steps that could have been taken, if all consideration of reasonableness had been debarred to them? They could not possibly admit that there were no practicable steps which could have been taken to avoid this or that accident.

If that is so, then, as I read this clause, even were it to mean that the output of a particular quarry or mine had to be reduced to negligible proportions—perhaps the mine even closed down altogether—it is obligatory upon the management to take those steps. That may be, in certain cases, a necessary thing: the quarry may be so dangerous that it is wiser it should not be operated. But in many cases that would not be so, and its closure would, in fact, be to the detriment not only of the management but of all employees at that mine or quarry. It is, however, quite clear that noble Lords opposite feel very strongly against this Amendment, and it is also clear to me that Her Majesty's Government will not accept it. I am sure my noble friend will appreciate the trouble that the noble and learned Earl opposite and my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor have taken to deal with this matter. It was absolutely right that it should be aired in your Lordships' House, because not only do all miners, possibly, feel very strongly against it, but I can assure noble Lords that owners and managements of quarries feel equally strongly that, as the Bill now stands, it places a very serious burden upon them. Having said that, I leave my noble friend to do as he likes.

VISCOUNT FURNESS

In view of the great guns which have been brought to bear on this Amendment by my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor and the noble and learned Earl, Lord Jowitt, the entire weight of the Govern-Front Bench and the entire weight of the Opposition, I must thank them warmly for the trouble they have taken over this word "reasonably," and, with the permission of my noble friend Lord Rochdale, I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 155, as amended, agreed to.

House resumed.

House adjourned at five minutes before eight o'clock.