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Coal Mines (Accidents)

Volume 155: debated on Tuesday 20 June 1922

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asked the Secretary for Mines whether the figures relating to fatal and non-fatal accidents in coal mines for the period January, February, and March, 1922, compared with the figures for the same period for the year 1913, show an increase in the accident rate when the number of accidents is considered in relation to the number of persons employed in the mines and the number of shifts worked; and whether it would be possible in the future for the Mines Department to publish figures of accidents in mines in relation to the number of man-shifts worked?

I am taking steps to publish accident returns in future on the basis of man-shifts worked, but this information is not available for past periods. On a rough estimate from such data as are in my possession, it would appear that the accident rate per man-shift is rather lower this year than it was in 1913. The actual numbers of reported accidents (excluding minor injuries) are 297 fatal and 1,446 non-fatal in the first three months of 1913 and 249 fatal and 1,147 non-fatal in the first three months of this year. These figures cover all mines.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that so far as Scotland is concerned there is an increase in the number of compensation claims to the extent of about 40 per cent., and although a reduction has taken place the number of claims is increasing.

I shall be very glad if the hon. Gentleman will give me any information he may have on the subject. The compensation may be claimed for damage.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the last 11 years there has been no review of the safety arrangements for dealing with accidents, notwithstanding the fact there have been very great changes in the methods of working the mines?

That is not the case. The whole question of safety appliances is under the constant observation of the Mines Department and of a special Committee which is even now sitting on the subject.