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Coal Industry (Pit Accidents, Boys)

Volume 415: debated on Wednesday 31 October 1945

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asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if there has been a reduction in the number of reportable injuries to boys under 16 years of age and youths under 18 years of age employed in mines in 1944; and, in view of the respective average rates of 341 and 299 per 1,000 injured and disabled for more than three days in the three years ended in 1943, a rate not conducive to juvenile recruitment to the mines, what steps he proposes to bring down the number and incidence of these injuries.

The figures for 1944 are not yet available. The main effort in the direction of preventing accidents to boys and youths lies in ensuring that they receive proper training and supervision before they go underground and during the early years of their employment, and I have recently made the Coal Mines (Training) General Regulations to develop the training arrangements for new entrants which have been built up during the war.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if the accidents to boys under 16 and 18 years of age take place more frequently on pony-haulage roads and when driving ponies than at the coalface, when such boys are in charge of older and skilled men; to what extent the tracks on haulage roads are to blame for derailments and injuries; and whether more care will be taken in laying tracks, especially on the undulating underground roadways in Durham and Northumberland coalfields.

The accident rate among boys and youths employed underground in South Wales, where they are predominantly employed in work at or near the face, is slightly lower than that in other coalfields, where the majority of the boys and youths are employed on the haulage roads. Though statistics are not available deficiencies in haulage tracks are known to be an important contributory cause of haulage accidents. The necessity of good track laying is constantly being stressed by His Majesty's Inspectors.