HC Deb 27 July 1979 vol 971 cc628-9W
Mr. Rooker

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he will list the initiatives taken by his Department since 1969 to improve the safety of escalators for employees and the general public;

(2) if he will list the initiatives taken by his Department since 1969 to improve the safety of escalators for the general public.

Mr. Mayhew,

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 26 July 1979],gave the following answer:

In July 1969 the British Standards Institution published a British standard specification—BS 26554 pt 4—for escalators, which specifies various safety features and includes model warning notices to be displayed at the top and bottom approaches to each escalator. I am informed by the Secretary of State for the Home Department that the Home Office, which had already recommended such notices, wrote again to the various trade associations representing large department stores and to some of the larger retail organisations individually, recommending that all new escalators installed in future should comply with the British standard and that existing escalators should be modified so far as possible to conform to the new requirements.

The British standard specification to which I have referred is now being revised, as explained in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Mrs. Knight) on 29 June.

Before the HASAWA came into force the Department of Employment had responsibility only, in the context of this question, for the safety of employees and not of the general public.

Since the coming into the force of the Act the Department of Employment has taken no initiative specifically addressed to the improvement of safety of escalators for the general public. However, the British Standards Institutions has recently published, as a draft for public comment, the text of a draft European standard specification for safety standards for the construction and installation of escalators. Appropriate Government Departments and agencies, including the Health and Safety Executive and the railway inspectorate of the Department of Transport, have accordingly been submitting comments, some of which are particularly relevant to the safety of young children. These comments will be pursued by Government representatives on the relevant BSI committee, and in subsequent negotiation of an EEC directive based on the European standard.