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Shops And Offices (Factories Acts)

Volume 499: debated on Tuesday 22 April 1952

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asked the Minister of Labour if he will introduce amending legislation to extend the provisions of the Factories Acts to shops, warehouses and offices.

No, Sir. Many of the provisions of the Factories Acts would be inapplicable to shops and offices. The needs of such premises in regard to health, welfare and safety requirements are more appropriately dealt with in separate legislation.

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman bear in mind that between 2 and 3 million persons are working in the types of premises referred to in the Question and that in all these premises—warehouses, shops and offices—are installed numerous power driven machines—slicers, mincers, crushers, electrical appliances, lifts and lifting tackle of all kinds—and that where accidents occur the Ministry have no record of them because there is no statutory right which permits them to record the accidents?

The Question which I was asked dealt with the appropriateness of applying the Factories Acts to these premises. The matter, as the hon. Gentleman is, no doubt, aware was carefully considered by the Gowers Committee, which reported to other Ministries. The Report which they made is being considered by those Ministers, and on an official level, but it is by no means the case that either the Committee or any other body has suggested the mere application of the Factories Acts to those premises.

Would my right hon. and learned Friend bear in mind that before extending the provisions of the Factories Acts, we ought to bring up the establishment of the factory inspectors so that they can give proper supervision in the areas already covered?