§ Mr. Dalyell
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if she will make an assessment of the health and safety of those who work in opencast coal mining.
§ Mr. McLoughlin
Prime responsibility for health and safety at work including assessment rests with employers and self employed persons, where appropriate. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) encourages and promotes health, safety and welfare at work at those places for which it is the enforcing authority, which includes opencast coal sites. HSE inspectors seek to ensure that employers and others comply with health and safety legislation and if necessary take appropriate action to ensure legal requirements are met.