HC Deb 25 April 1917 vol 92 cc2425-6W

asked the Home Secretary (1) whether his attention has been drawn to the conditions under which lead mining is carried on at the Greenside mine, Glenridding-on-Ullswater; whether he can state the mortality from miners' phthisis at this mine compared with other Cumberland and Westmorland lead mines and with the rate for phthisis amongst all males in the United Kingdom; whether any provision is made for men employed underground to wash before meals; (2) whether the mother rock of the Greenside mine, Glenridding-on-Ullswater. is quartz; whether this produces silica (quartz) dust and is a cause of miners' phthisis; whether this mine in this respect differs from any neighbouring lead mines; whether any appliances are provided to safeguard the men from the evil effect of the silica (quartz) dust generated by boring and blasting; if so, are they in addition to those provided in neighbouring mines; and whether blasting is allowed whilst the men are still at work in the mine?


The Home Office recently directed a special investigation to be made into the conditions at this mine by the mines inspector for the Division and one of the medical inspectors of factories. As a result of their inquiries the inspectors came to the conclusion that the mortality at this mine from miners' phthisis was considerably in excess of the death-rate from this cause for all other males in the United Kingdom, and also of the rate at other neighbouring lead mines, and that this was due to the character of the rock and the amount of dust from the machine drills which was allowed to-escape into the air. At the Greenside mine the rock in which the lead-bearing veins are found in quartzite, and this produces a silica dust, the inhalation of which is liable to cause fibroid phthisis, whereas at neighbouring lead mines the rock is either slate or limestone and the dust is not injurious. Following on this-Report, special rules were drafted to deal with the danger, embodying the precautions recommended by the Royal Commission on Metalliferous Mines and Quarries. These rules have been accepted by the owners of the mine, and are, I am informed, now observed at the mine. They impose special requirements (not in force at the neighbouring mines) in regard to boring and blasting with a view to preventing as far as possible the production of dust in boring and the exposure of men to the dust after blasting. Blasting is not prohibited while men are in the mine, but is mainly done at the end of the shift. I am informed that washing facilities are not provided, and that they are not necessary for the prevention of miners phthisis.