HL Deb 28 June 1960 vol 224 cc677-95

4.5 p.m.

Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.


My Lords, this Bill was fairly fully discussed on Second Reading, when I had the honour of explaining its provisions to the House, so that I do not think it is necessary for me to make a speech on Third Reading. I understand that Amendments are to be moved. I will content myself by moving that the Bill be now read a third time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.—(Lord Morrison of Lambeth.)

On Question, Bill read 3a, with the Amendment.

Clause 5 [Notification of accidents]:


moved, at the beginning of subsection (1) to insert: "Subject to the provisions of this section". The noble Earl said: My Lords, Amendments Nos. 1 and 2 go together and it may be to your Lordships' convenience if I speak on them both at the same time. Clause 5 provides for the notification—in a prescribed form and with prescribed particulars—of accidents in offices involving loss of life or disability causing loss of wages for more than three days. As a result of an Amendment moved by my noble friend Lord Jessel, if an office forms part of a factory the notice must be sent to the factory inspector for the area in which the office is situated. In any other case the notice is sent to the local authority for that area.

There was insufficient time to examine the drafting of my noble friend's Amendment before the Committee stage, but it now seems that it was not altogether satisfactory. Some offices that form part of a factory are so situated—for instance, within the curtilage of factory premises—as to be also subject to the corresponding provisions for notification of precisely the same categories of accidents as are contained in Section 64 of the Factories Act, 1937. In other words., my noble friend's Amendment would have the effect of requiring the occupier of such an office within a factory curtilage to have to give two notices to the same inspector of the same accident; and I know that my noble friend did not intend that.

Subsection 2 of the proposed Amendment begins by excluding from Clause 5 accidents which are notifiable under the Factories Act, 1937. This leaves the clause applicable to Clause 7 offices which do not actually form part of a factory in such a way as to be subject to that particular Act. Subsection (3) is a provision in contemplation of the new clause that I will move (Clause 7)—which is in respect of enforcement of the Act in relation to offices in mines and quarries. It is a technical Amendment arising from the drafting on the principle of my noble friend's Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 3, line 32, at beginning insert ("Subject to the provisions of this section").—(Earl Bathurst.)


My Lords, I have no wish to oppose the Amendment moved and lucidly explained by the noble Earl, Lord Bathurst, but I want to remind him and my noble friend that it was my intention on the. Committee stage of the Bill to introduce in this particular part of the Bill, and indeed in Clause 7 as well, Amendments which would have had the effect of resting the responsibility for ensuring proper precautions in case of fire on the fire authorities; in other words, the county councils and county borough councils. I did not move this Amendment for procedural reasons, because I was most anxious that the Bill should reach the Statute Book and I did not want to do anything, therefore, that might hinder that objective. Therefore my present remarks, with all respect, are addressed more to the noble Earl and the Government than to my noble friend who is in Charge of the Bill here.

The noble Earl has just explained that his Amendment was necessary to the Amendment of his noble friend Lord Jessel because the effect of Lord Jessel's Amendment would be to make two notifications necessary as there would be two different authorities. It is precisely for that reason that I wish to make county authorities the only fire authorities responsible with regard to fire precautions. I adhere entirely to the statement I made earlier: I do not wish to hinder this Bill. But I think that this is a most important principle on which, so far, this House has fallen down; and I want to suggest, therefore, in my remarks, ways in which I hope the Government, before the Bill reaches the Statute Book, will make good this omission.

My Lords, the Bill, contrary to our earlier expectations, is now going back to another place with Amendments for which the Government have accepted the responsibility for providing time, ensuring, therefore, that they do not hinder the Bill. I now seek the Governments assistance and support on this important question of fire prevention and the means of escape in cases of fire in offices. Every single one of us was horrified the other day by the fire disaster at a Liverpool store when eight people died a terrible death. I say at once that I am not suggesting (because I do not know) that there were not proper safeguards at that store. Indeed, I should be the first to admit that, since it was in Liverpool, the fire precautions there were in the hands of the fire authority, the county borough, and therefore, if my suggestions were accepted, its advice could be no better than it was. I am not making any imputations whatsoever. I am merely saying that we do not know why it happened, but that these things do happen, and that the risk is increased, and must obviously be increased, unless fire prevention experts are responsible for precautions.

That means that the people with the job of putting out fires must, or should, be responsible for those fire precautions. There can be no possible argument about this. I do not like being dogmatic, as a rule, but there can be no possible argument, because the fire authorities, the county councils and the county boroughs, are the only people who employ these experts. The district and the metropolitan borough councils do not employ fire experts. They are not the fire authorities. The public health inspector may go round, but he has no expert knowledge about it; and therefore the district councils, who are responsible in this Bill as it now stands for fire precautions in offices, just do not have anyone whom they can send round who is competent to advise on these things.

It is a very serious matter. The Government recognised this in the 1959 Factories Act and rightly insisted that responsibility for safety precautions must rest with the fire authorities—the noble Earl opposite will remember our discussions on this point. It is just as necessary in offices. Indeed, with some of the old offices I would say it is even more necessary than in factories, because in some cases the danger to life is even greater. And the Government should not allow—and I say this in particular to the noble Earl considerations of parochial prestige to weigh with them when it is a matter of human life, a matter of life and death.

For procedural reasons, of which we are all aware, it is not possible for my noble friend to do anything about this; but it is possible for the Government. At an earlier stage in the proceedings on this Bill the noble Earl said that he had brought my contentions on this particular matter to the attention of his right honourable friend the Home Secretary, and he said that the Home Secretary was considering them. I should like to ask whether a decision has been reached. If so, I imagine that the Government must have reaffirmed their adherence to the principle that responsibility for looking after fire arrangements should rest with the people who have to fight the fires, the fire authorities. If so, I would ask the noble Earl whether the Government will make the necessary change in another place on this Bill.

In my view, it could be done by an Amendment to the Amendment which was accepted on Committee stage, moved by the noble Lord, Lord Jessel. The noble Earl has himself decided, on behalf of the Government, to move Amendments to that Amendment. Therefore I am suggesting another very simple Amendment, which he himself would be able to make (or, if he would be willing to accept the advice, I would humbly make a suggestion on this matter) whereby my point could be met in an Amendment to that Amendment. It would then have to be considered in another place and I am sure, with Government support, it would be accepted and there would be plenty of time for the Bill to get on to the Statute Book. I hope that that can be done, but if for any reason that suggestion is not practicable then I ask for an assurance that the matter will be put right in the Government's own Bill. In this matter I have been advised of the very strong feeling of the County Councils Association. I do not represent them any more than I represent anyone else, but I think it is only right to say how strongly they feel and, in my view, how rightly they feel in the matter.

With regard to the Government's own Bill (about which the noble Earl was a little shy when it was referred to on Committee or Second Reading) the Under-Secretary in another place, Mr. Vosper, on Third Reading, using arguments similar to my own, said this [OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, Vol. 620, col. 1762]: … there is substance in the argument, and possibly other enforcement provisions should be made in accordance with similar provisions in factory legislation … in any legislation which might follow this Bill we might have to have further talks about enforcement authorities generally. … As to the future, the Government are considering whether the Bill should be overtaken by some more comprehensive form of legislation". The Bill which we are now discussing comes in operation on January 1, 1962. If it is to be overtaken by another Bill, that Bill must be introduced by the Government in the next Session. I would ask the noble Earl, therefore, for an assurance that the Government will enact the fire precautions either by the Amendment I have now suggested to this Bill, or in their own Bill.

I have one other point. In connection with the projected, or (forthcoming, or half-promised, Government Bill it will be recalled that I asked them to include in regulations regarding conditions back-stage. I mentioned the bad working conditions in television rehearsal rooms. Since then, I think it is fair to say, I have learnt that there is one exception to the strictures I made—namely, Granada Television. I am informed that neither Equity nor the other entertainment unions have ever had a complaint about this particular firm's facilities and that they are well (satisfied with them. I would only say that, since they can do it, I hope the B.B.C. and the other commercial companies will quickly follow suit.

I am strengthened in this request by a number of letters that I have received since my earlier remarks, and I should like to quote one of them. This is how it reads: May I as an actress of over twenty-five years in the English theatre, thank you most warmly for your voice crying in the wilderness over the deplorable conditions my profession are forced, in these supposedly enlightened days, to work under? In the case of the theatre, these are sometimes economically unavoidable, but television has no such excuse. I have experienced cases of shocking hardship among old and elderly players, as rehearsal rooms and halls are nearly all well off the beaten track and miles from transport or decent restaurants. 'Stars' with their own cars and the young and strong can survive these conditions, but it is not surprising to read often of over-fatigued older people taking overdoses of sleeping tablets, or suddenly collapsing and dying during or after TV rehearsals. I should very gladly he prepared to endorse all this with much more detail. Meanwhile, may I beg you to keep my name strictly private? Were the contents of this letter made public with my name attached, I should get no more television work. My Lords, I have quoted that letter, first of all, to make amends for some exaggeration that I might previously have made, but also to show that in general, at least, there was no exaggeration. It is something of which I hope the Government, when they come to prepare this Bill, will take cognisance, because it is quite disgraceful that firms with so much money should allow their employees to endure such hardships. In any case, I hope that the Government will put forward in another place the Amendment to this Bill that I have asked for, thus ensuring that we do the utmost possible to ensure that proper safety conditions are laid down to prevent fatalities in the case of fire.

House adjourned during pleasure, and resumed by the Lord Chancellor.


My Lords, I am in precisely the same position as my noble friend Lord Stonham. May I say at once that I heartily support what he said about the fire authorities, and I hope very much that the Government will deal with it one of the two ways he has suggested. What the Bill has done, for many purposes, is to convert an office attached to a factory into a "factory", so that it comes under the Factory Inspectorate and accidents are reported to the Factories Department of the Ministry of Labour and not to the local authority. However, there is one important respect in which the offices will remain dissimilar, and in which I think it would be greatly to the advantage of people who work in them if they did not remain dissimilar—and that is as to the compulsory medical inspection of young People by the appointed factory doctor.

The appointed factory doctor is required by law to examine young people working in a factory three times before they are 18, at yearly intervals; and some firms do it as a voluntary service in their offices. This is a time when tuberculosis is particularly liable to be detected, and tuberculosis in young, office workers is a serious matter, not only for them but for those with whom they work. I very much hone that now that this step of associating the factory offices with the factory as regards accidents and accident prevention has been taken, this small extra step will also be taken, either now or in the Bill which the Government will be introducing, to extend the work of the appointed factory doctor to the young workers in the factory office.


My Lords, you will notice that on the Marshalled List there is an Amendment down in the name of my noble friend Lord Burden and myself, and I hope your Lordships will think it appropriate that I should make some observations upon the Amendments which the noble Earl has just moved, for that will avoid my having to deal with similar points which will arise when our Amendment is called. Your Lordships will see that Lord Burden and myself desire to delete Clause 7, because that is the clause under which the factory inspector is given powers under this Bill to deal with the offices in connection with those factories where mechanical power is used. It will be appreciated that under the Bill generally the public health Inspectors of local authorities have been entrusted with the power to implement this Bill in relation to offices throughout the country, whether they be in connection with a profession, trade, business or a factory where no mechanical power is used. It is only in the case of factories where mechanical power is used that the power is removed from the public health inspector and transferred to the factory inspector.


May I interrupt the noble Lord for one moment? I know he did not mean to mislead, but the factory inspectors will take over only the offices which are within the curtilage of a factory, or are attached closely to a factory. It does not mean any other office which is connected with the factory.


Yes, I appreciate that.


The noble Lord does understand? He did not say so.


Yes, I appreciate what the noble Earl has said, and I was mindful of the fact that it concerned only offices within the curtilage of a factory. The noble Earl considers that that is important, and so do I. But why the question of mechanical power should decide that the factory inspectors should undertake matters with regard to the conditions of offices, and the health and welfare of those who are engaged in them, and not the public health inspectors, upon whom the responsibility rests in respect of every other kind of office, it is very difficult to understand.

It may be that it is as a result of the Factories Act, 1937, under which the factory inspectors were given the power to deal with matters regarding cleanliness, and so on, in factories where mechanical power was used; and it may well be that it was thought that this was a reasonable extension of the duties that they had there. It may also have been thought that, as the factory inspector does in the course of his duties examine and inspect the factories where mechanical power is used, it is not unreasonable to require him to see the conditions of the offices under which the people who are engaged in them have to work. If that were the case, and the public health inspectors of the local authorities were not required to visit the factories where mechanical power was used, I could understand the force of that argument. But that is not the case. Public health inspectors of local authorities are already required for a variety of purposes to visit factories where mechanical power is used.

They have to undertake work in connection with atmospheric pollution; they have to undertake inspection with regard to hygiene in kitchens and canteens; they have to attend to deal with the control of insects and rodent pests; they have to abate public health nuisances, and also attend to other public health matters—drainage disposal and disposal of waste materials, offensive trades, and the like. So the public health inspectors already have to attend at these factories where mechanical power is used; and I cannot see why these people, who have been entrusted with the implementation of the provisions of this Bill in every kind of office other than offices which are within the curtilage of such factories, should be debarred from exercising the powers which they exercise in all other respects merely because mechanical power is used in those factories. It is true that there is one provision in the Bill which is reserved exclusively for the public health inspectors as regards factories where mechanical power is used, in that they are expressly authorised to visit and inspect the sanitary arrangements in such factories.

My Lords, I do not raise any objection to this point on the ground that the factory inspectors are in any way unfitted to carry out the inspections; nor do I suggest that they are incompetent to do the work which will fall on them in this regard.


They probably are incompetent.


My noble friend, who is a responsible member of the medical profession, says that he thinks that public health inspectors of local authorities are incompetent to consider the conditions of offices under this Bill. Parliament so far has entrusted them with all offices other than those within the curtilage of factories.


I think that they are considerably less competent than the Health Ministry factory inspectors.


I was going to deal with the factory inspectors. In his Report for 1958, the Chief Inspector of Factories reports that there are over 200,000 factories where mechanical power is used, all of which come under the responsibility of the factory inspectors. Of 407 inspectors of all grades, 338 are out-stationed. The report shows that in 1958 they were under establishment. There were eleven chemical, eight engineering and two medical inspector posts which had not been filled. In the factories inspected in 1958 they reported 167,697 accidents, of which 665 were fatal. There were 1,243 dangerous occurrences, and the inspectors found it necessary in 124 cases to lay information against the persons in control, or the management, in respect of offences against safety requirements which in most cases involved the death or injury of the workpeople concerned.

All this means that these 338 factory inspectors, besides their reports and the necessary duties they have to undertake in seeing that the safety requirements in over 200,000 factories are well maintained, have to attend magistrates' courts when they institute proceedings and inquests when workpeople are killed in their employment. Furthermore, in 1958, additional responsibilities were cast upon them under the Slaughterhouses Act of that year, and the development of nuclear energy and the increasing use of ionising radiation has cast further responsibilities upon them. On page 36 of the Report I have mentioned, it is stated: The rapid development of nuclear energy, together with the increased use of ionising radiation for a wide range of industrial processes, creates a number of problems for the inspectorate in relation to its responsibilities concerning the health and safety of those covered by the Factories Act. Up to the time of the Report only 40 out of 338 on the Factory Inspectorate had been able to attend the five-day course in dealing with nuclear energy and the problems it throws up, although I have no doubt that a considerably greater number have been able to attend these courses since.

The case I make with regard to this Bill is that the matters with which the Bill deals are matters that should fall within the province of the public health inspectors of the local authorities. The factory inspectors should not be burdened with these additional responsibilities. Their duties in looking after the safe working and proper protection of workers engaged in factories are so serious that the inspections under this Bill should be the function of the public health inspectors. It is for these reasons that my noble friend Lord Burden and I have put down the Amendment to delete Clause 7. I make these observations now because, if the noble Earl's Amendment were accepted by your Lordships, that would make it impossible for me to move my Amendment. I hope that your Lordships will forgive me for having intervened at this stage in order to set out the reasons why this Amendment was put down.

4.37 p.m.


My Lords, one of the charms of your Lordships' House is that our discussions can range much wider than the Motion before your Lordships. I am not complaining about it, because there is a great advantage in it. It may not do somewhere else, because advantage would be taken of it; but your Lordships are so expeditious in discharging the functions of revision of legislation that it is unlikely that advantage would be taken of it here. This discussion, so to speak, has telescoped the whole discussion on these Amendments.

As I understand it, the case of Her Majesty's Government in these Amendments is that it is better that one body of inspectors should function under the Bill. It is more economical and more convenient for the occupiers of premises if there is only one body of inspectors. If two or three bodies of inspectors were involved, they might happen to disagree with each other or would increase the number of visits, which would not be too convenient for the occupiers. The noble Lord, Lord Jessel, had an Amendment down on Committee stage which had the same purpose as one of these Government Amendments. I think the noble Lord can be comforted by the fact that the substance of his Amendment remains and that has made a contribution to the Bill. The Government have put it in what they conceive to be a more tidy form.

My noble friend Lord Stonham, who has asked me to apologise because he has had to leave for another meeting, raised the important point that the fire safety aspects of offices should be dealt with exclusively by the fire fighting authorities—the councils of counties and county boroughs. The argument is attractive and logical, but my noble friend has to face the fact that the law about fire regulations is already in something of a tangle. Under, I think, one of the Public Health Acts the county district authorities and the metropolitan boroughs—certainly the county districts outside London—in their capacity as regulators of new buildings and building operations already have in the discharge of those duties material powers in respect of fire. I am advised that they would resist losing those powers to the fire authority; and having already got those powers, they think that fire should come within the scope of their inspectoral duties as regards offices. So we are already in something of a tangle. I can only say to my noble friend Lord Stonham—and I am grateful to him for his forbearance and co-operation in regard to the Bill—that the Government some day, I understand, are going to introduce legislation dealing in a more comprehensive way with the problem that is dealt with by this Bill. It may be that then they will examine all these problems of possible overlapping and make some improvements.

But it is the case that, whereas the purpose of the Amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Jessel, and of the Government is to simplify inspection by concentrating it with one body of inspectors, my noble friend Lord Stonham, if he had been able to move his Fire Brigade Amendment, would have liked to introduce another body of inspectors in addition to those that already exist. There is a legitimate conflict, and there are legitimate arguments on both sides. But we have to be as logical as Parliament can be on a Private Bill of this sort, although it is not possible to be entirely logical on the matter.

My noble friend Lord Taylor put a vigorous argument as to the merits of these various bodies of inspectors, and he knows more about that than I do. Frankly, I should not like to join in the argument, partly because I already have enough trouble, and partly because I do not know enough about it to express an opinion on the relative merits of the factory inspectors and the public health inspectors.


My Lords, I think I went a little further than I should have done in suggesting that public health inspectors were not as good as factory inspectors. I did not mean to say that. I meant to say that I thought they were considerably less appropriate for this particular job, having regard to the fact that there will be factory inspectors already there inside the factory, and because the management of these particular offices are familiar with this type of work. I think they would do it equally well, given the training.


My Lords I am obliged to my noble friend, but he will appreciate that the public health inspectors are already there and doing this job in other respects.


If I may say so, they are less frequently there: in fact, I have never seen a public health inspector in a factory, though I know that they are supposed to inspect the lavatory. I have never known a lavatory to be inspected in a factory by a public health inspector, whereas I have known large numbers of factories being continuously inspected by Her Majesty's factory inspectors.


If my noble friend thinks it important, perhaps I can arrange for him to be notified when they will be attending next.


My noble friend Lord Taylor is always, to use the words of Matthew Arnold, a splendid example of "sweetness and light" and it is very fine of him to withdraw from the position he had taken on the relative merits of these inspectors. I have a great respect for my noble friend and would not contradict him for worlds. I just say that I do not know enough about it to express an opinion.

From my noble friend Lord Granville-West we listened to another turn in the argument. My noble friend Lord Stonham, so to speak, made the case for the fire prevention and fire fighting authorities, and my noble friend Lord Granville-West made the case for the county districts outside the county of London. Again, I understand him perfectly, and, indeed, he made quite a reasonable case. He wanted the inspectors of the county districts outside London—and possibly the metropolitan boroughs—to do the job that the Government propose should be done by the factory inspectors. Thereby comes the same argument. The Government will probably resist that on the ground that it would involve a duplication of inspection within a given building or curtilage. That also is difficult to resist.

In all the circumstances, I think we had better take note of the arguments, and give all the arguers prizes, in that they all have a case and there is merit in the argument they have put forward. BM at the end of the day I think we should leave the Bill as it is, subject to the Government's Amendments, which, after consideration and, on balance, I think it is reasonable for the House to accept—in any case, as the noble Lord in charge of the Bill, I had better accept, because it will facilitate the passage of the Bill if I do. I would suggest, therefore, that we had better accept the Government's Amendments, take note of all the arguments and hope that they can have more effective results on another day.

4.47 p.m.


My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, told me also that he was unable to be present to hear my reply because he has to take the chair in a Committee upstairs. Before I make a reply on behalf of the Government to what has been said, I want to associate myself and the Government with the feelings of horror and sadness expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, with regard to this terrible fire in Liverpool. Then, I am quite sure that some of your Lordships will have started reading the report of the inquiry into that tragic fire in Glasgow where so many brave firemen lost their lives. Fire is a terrifying problem, and your Lordships are well aware of and most grateful for the interest that the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, takes in all the affairs of the fire service and the dangers and risks of fire. Indeed, in some three-quarters of an hour we shall have another terrible and tragic problem to consider with regard to oil stoves.

I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, and most lucky also that he should be sponsoring this Bill. With all his experience as a past Home Secretary, he has put before your Lordships all the problems that I should have had to put. But not only has the noble Lord vast practical experience, but, as he explained to your Lordships, he also has the political experience, and possibly that is one of the reasons, as he said, why he is accepting my Amendments.

The problems which the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, the noble Lord, Lord Granville-West and, to a lesser extent, the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, put forward are enormous and full of dissentient opinion, as your Lordships have already heard. The problem with which we are dealing under this Amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Jessel, is a small one, although on looking into the Amendment it seemed very sensible, as time went on, that one inspectorate only should be responsible for the particular office of this particular type. It was only by misfortune that the noble Lord's Amendment as it was drafted would not fill the bill. We have heard of the complications that the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, has put forward. I quoted almost word for word, I believe, the quotation in another place of my right honourable friend, which the noble Lord quoted to-day. I think we can go no further—I certainly cannot—and I hope that I did not give the appearance of making a shy speech on the occasion of the Second Reading. Obviously I cannot commit my right honourable friend or the Government. But what I can say is that my right honourable friend is giving this matter serious and close attention, and it was he and his advisers who brought to my attention the whole problem which the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, has put before your Lordships. The noble Lord may rest assured that this problem is being considered and that all the interested parties, about whom we have heard a considerable amount this afternoon, will have a chance to voice their opinions. I hone that when the noble Lord reads that he will see what I mean and what my right honourable friend means.

The noble Lord, Lord Taylor, brought up a new problem and one of which we have not heard in the course of this Bill. I understand that medical inspection for young people in factories is far outside the scope of this Bill. I have no doubt that my right honourable friend will look at what the noble Lord has said, and that one day it may be possible to do something to bring about the state that he would like to see, should that seem to be desirable. But I must tell the noble Lord that it is right outside the scope of this Bill, either here to-day or in another place.

With regard to the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Granville-West, the whole object of my Amendment is to simplify the task of inspecting. Indeed, that is what my noble friend Lord Jessel had in mind. It seemed reasonable to think that, where a factory was being inspected next door to an office which is within the curtilage, it would not be a great extra burden on that inspector to go through the office and make his recommendations or criticisms, or give his approval, as the case may be. Indeed, he may already be doing a considerable amount of talking and visiting in that particular office. For that reason, it was thought to be a less onerous burden to the inspector if that work could be given to a factory inspector rather than to the local authority inspector which the noble Lord, Lord Granville-West, would like.

As to the factories which have no machinery, their problems are more problems of health and hygiene, rather than problems of mechanical danger, which is, I think the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, will agree, the No. 1 problem in a factory today. It is for that reason that all factories with machinery should be inspected by the factory inspectorate. Only one in ten of the factories in existence to-day has no machinery of any kind. Therefore, I think your Lordships would agree that it is better to keep the same inspector to inspect the office and the factory if those two buildings are in the same curtilage. The rest of the Factory Act inspection system remains exactly as it is. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, for accepting these Amendments, and I assure your Lordships that I am certain that they will make for the smoother operation of the Bill, which the noble Lord and all your Lordships would like to see in operation as soon as possible.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

4.54 p.m.


My Lords, this Amendment is consequential upon the Amendment I have just moved. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 3, leave out lines 41 to 43 and insert— (2) No report need be sent under this section of an accident of which notice is required to be sent to the inspector for the district under section sixty-four of the Factories Act, 1937, and a report under this section of an accident in an office which is within the close, curtilage or precincts of premises constituting a factory as defined in that Act shall be sent to the said inspector, and not to the local authority. (3) No report need be sent under this section of an accident in an office to which section one hundred and sixteen of the Mines and Quarries Act, 1954 (which requires the notification of accidents in mines and quarries), applies."—(Earl Bathurst.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 6 [Enforcement of Act by local authorities]:


My Lords, this is a drafting Amendment consequential upon the new clause that I shall move after Clause 7. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 4, line 7, leave out ("section seven") and insert ("sections seven and (Enforcement of Act as respects offices at mines and quarries)").—(Earl Bathurst.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 7 [Enforcement of Act by factory inspectors in certain cases]:


My Lords, this Amendment is a paving Amendment for Amendment No. 5, and it may be for your Lordships' convenience if I discuss the two together. The new subsection (4) in Amendment No. 5 follows a precedent of the factories legislation, and is modelled on Section 156 (9) of the Factories Act, 1937. It arises from the immediately preceding subsection, which gives the factory inspector the power to prosecute with respect to any office which it is his duty to inspect—that is, the offices in factories about which we have been speaking. In Scotland this is not sufficient, because there a prosecutor cannot give evidence in a case which he is conducting, and therefore a specific authority is needed to allow a factory inspector in Scotland to do this. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 4, line 36, leave out ("as respects any office") and insert ("in the case of offices").—(Earl Bathurst.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, this Amendment is consequential. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 5, line 19, at end insert— ("(4) It shall not be an objection to the competency of an inspector to give evidence in any proceeding instituted in Scotland in pursuance of the last foregoing subsection that the proceeding is brought at his instance or conducted by him.")—(Earl Bathurst.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, having expressed my views with regard to this matter, and having no wish to delay the House any further, as I am in entire agreement with the main principles of this Bill, I do not move my Amendment to leave out Clause 7.


moved, after Clause 7 to insert the following new clause:

Enforcement of Act as respects offices at mines and quarries

".—(1) This section applies to any office which, for the purposes of the Mines and Quarries Act, 1954, forms or is deemed to form part of a mine or quarry within the meaning of that Act.

(2) The provisions of this Act and of any regulations made under section one of this Act shall, in the case of offices to which this section applies, be enforced by inspectors appointed by the Minister of Power under section one hundred and forty-four of the Mines and Quarries Act, 1954, or such other officers of the Ministry of Power as may be authorised in that behalf in writing under the hand of the Minister of Power; and

  1. (a) the Minister of Power may regulate the cases and manner in which inspectors so appointed and other officers so authorised are to execute and perform their powers and duties under this section;
  2. (b) an inspector so appointed or officer so authorised may, after producing (if so required) the instrument by which he was so appointed or, as the case may be, his said written authority, enter at all reasonable hours any office to which this section applies or any premises which he has reasonable cause to believe to be an office to which this section applies for the purpose of making such examinations and inquiries as may be necessary to ascertain whether the said provisions are complied with;
  3. (c) any person who obstructs an inspector so appointed or an officer so authorised in the exercise of his powers under this section shall be guilty of an offence."

The noble Earl said: My Lords, with due regard to noble Lords opposite, perhaps I am in rather mare sweetness than light (I think the noble Lord used that expression) after the noble Lord's intervention on the first Amendment. This Amendment, as the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, has said, is somewhat similar to the Amendment of my noble friend Lord Jessel but deals with mines and quarries. It gives effect to the wishes expressed at the Report stage in another place. There it was argued that mines and quarries should not be subject to inspection by two sets of inspectors, in the same way as we have been talking about this afternoon.

At present these offices are subject to the requirements of the Mines and Quarries Act, 1954, and to inspection under it. The health, welfare and safety regulations in that Act are extensive and are not meant to deal so much with the office workers above ground as with those employed at the working surface of mines and quarries. It was generally accepted in another place that this Bill should apply to offices above ground of mines and quarries where working conditions are not different from those in any other offices, but that inspection should be carried out, if possible, by the inspectors who visit those mines and quarries under the 1954 Act. As the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, said, it is a complicated provision, but in fact it deals with exactly the same problem that my noble friend Lord Jessel has mentioned. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— After Clause 7, insert the said new clause.—(Earl Bathurst.)


My Lords, the noble Earl has explained the purpose of this Amendment very clearly, and, indeed, it is the same in principle as the purpose of the Amendment dealing with factories. Again, it is for the purpose of avoiding a duplicate inspection, so far as that can be done. I think it is a reasonable Amendment. It inevitably follows—the point having been raised by the appropriate Government Department or some body—the other Amendment with regard to the Factory Inspectorate, and I would concur in the advice that has been given the House to accept it.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, I now beg to move that this Bill do now pass, and I should like, in doing so, to thank your Lordships for the kindly consideration you have given to this measure, which has been wanted for a good time and which has a long and unsuccessful Parliamentary history. I am very grateful that your Lordships should have been helpful in the passage of the Bill into law. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Bill do now pass.—(Lord Morrison of Lambeth.)

On Question, Bill passed, and returned to the Commons.