HC Deb 22 October 1975 vol 898 cc196-7W
Mr. George

asked the Secretary of State for Employment in the light of tests carried out at ISC Alloys, Bloxwich, by the Health and Safety Executive, what advice is being given to similar establishments so as to minimise the likelihood of further accidents; and if he is satisfied with safety provisions of the existing law.

Mr. Harold Walker

I have received the following information from the Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission.

The possibility of the liberation of arsine gas from contaminated zinc dross under certain conditions is well known. As long ago as 1922 the Chemical Works Regulations required precautions to be taken in certain processes where arsine is liable to be evolved.

A technical data note (TDN No. 6) about the dangers of arsine and precautions to be taken has been available from Her Majesty's Factory Inspectorate for several years.

However, following the accident involving arsine at the factory of Wheeler and Pearsall Limited, Her Majesty's Inspectors of Factories were instructed to remind all employers known to treat zinc dross of the possible dangers of the process and of the appropriate precautions.

Existing law, in particular Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, provides a fully adequate means of requiring employers and others to carry out such processes with proper regard for safety.