HC Deb 05 July 1910 vol 18 cc1606-7W

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the case of His Majesty's Inspector of Factories against Messrs. Ross Brothers, Limited, of Bloomfield Factory, Belfast, which was heard before the Court of King's Bench, Dublin, on 5th June, which was an appeal from the decision of the magistrates at the Belfast Petty Sessions, dismissing the action brought by the factory inspector against the defendants for an alleged breach of the Factory and Workshops Act, 1901, the charge being that the defendants neglected to provide suitable accommodation in which to keep the clothing of their employés in wet-spinning operations; whether the inspector, on visiting the premises, found in the winding department seventy-five workers for whose clothing sixty-six hooks were provided, in the weaving department 200 workers with similar accommodation, and suggested that heated and ventilated presses should be provided or another ante-room or cloak-room; whether he is aware that Mr. Justice Gibson, who affirmed the decision of the magistrates, on the ground that they had apparently found on the questions of fact and he could not say that they erred on a question of law, stated that it was clear what the object of the Statute is, but it was another thing whether the regulations under which proceedings were taken carried them out; what further action the Home Office proposes to take in this matter; and, if the Act of 1901 can afford no redress for the workers, whether the Government will introduce a short amending Bill covering this and similar cases?


I am aware of the facts of the case. The accommodation for clothing was as described in the question. The object of the Regulation is to secure that the clothes of the persons working in humidified atmospheres should be kept in a dry place; but in this instance the clothes had to be hung in the very room where they would be exposed to the humidified atmosphere, and so would be kept damp. In view of the decision of the court, a revision of the Regulation will be required, and this will be taken in hand at the first opportunity. The circumstances of this case were, I understand, exceptional.