HC Deb 12 June 1941 vol 372 cc360-1W
Mr. Windsor

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that during black-out hours men returning to their ships have fallen into docks, with fatal results; that if the docks are privately-owned workmen's compensation is payable because employers' liability commences from the time a man enters the dock area; that no such compensation is payable in the case of publicly-owned docks for any accident occurring before a man arrives at the foot of the ship's gangway; and whether he will take steps to remove this anomaly, so that widows and dependants of deceased seamen may not be left destitute?

Mr. H. Morrison

In order to entitle a workman to compensation the accident must arise out of and in the course of his employment. Whether this condition is fulfilled in any case will depend on the particular circumstances, but certain general tests have been recognised in judicial decisions. Thus in the case of a seaman meeting with an accident in a dock on his way back to his ship from leave, the broad test appears to be whether at the time of the accident he is in a place open to the public and the risk is one shared by the public, or whether he is on private premises to which he has access only by virtue of his employment and is thereby exposed to a special risk. Proposals to alter the present position would be bound to raise important and difficult questions in regard to the general scope of the Act, and I am afraid that it would not be practicable to deal with them except on a general revision of the law.