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Coalminers, Industrial Diseases

Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 22 March 1949

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2.

asked the Minister of National Insurance how many cases of epidermophytosis have been notified to his Department as occurring in coalminers using pithead baths and sustaining infection of the skin of their feet, and whether he accepts this condition as an industrial disease for which compensation should be given under the Industrial Injuries Act.

4.

asked the Minister of National Insurance whether he will consider adding to the list of prescribed industrial diseases the disease of epidermophytosis in cases where that disease has been contracted by coal-miners in pithead baths.

I regret that information is not available about the number of cases of this disease notified to the Department. I am considering the position in relation to benefit under the Industrial Injuries Act in the light of a recent decision of the Commissioner. In this case while stating that the disease is not prescribed under the Industrial Injuries Act, he suggested that in certain circumstances it might be regarded as contracted by accident and as such already within the scope of the Act.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that these cases are quite numerous, tend to spread and that they are easily preventable? Would my right hon. Friend use his influence with the National Coal Board to see that the necessary steps are taken at the pithead baths to ensure that further contagion is prevented?

We have no evidence so far of any material increase in the number of cases, but I am given to understand they can in the ordinary way be prevented. I shall take what steps I can in association with my right hon. Friend, the Minister of Fuel and Power to see what improvements can be made.

Will my right hon. Friend provide a copy of the decision of the Industrial Injuries Commissioner on this particular point?