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Clause 67—(Dust Precautions)

Volume 529: debated on Thursday 1 July 1954

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Amendments made: In page 46, line 19, leave out from "mine." to "the," in line 20.

In line 23. at end, insert "is minimised."

Amendment proposed: In page 46, line 30, leave out paragraph ( a), and insert:

(a) that the entry of the dust into the air or its accumulation in any place in circumstances in which its accumulation in that place might be dangerous or harmful is minimised by means of steps in that behalf taken as near as possible to the point of origin of the dust—[Mr. Joynson-Hicks.]

This is a very important Amendment which concerns two diseases in the mining industry, silicosis and pneumoconiosis. I want to thank the Minister for having re-drafted the Clause so that it is much better than when it was originally inserted in the Bill. The Clause now lays down provisions for suppression and is much better than its original form, about which we argued in Committee. I think it is right that we should thank the Minister for the Clause.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In page 46, line 36, leave out so far as is reasonably practicable."

In line 42, leave out "so far as is reasonably practicable."—[ Mr. Joynson-Hicks.]

I beg to move, in page 47, line 4, at the end, to insert:

(3) Regulations may impose upon managers of mines such requirements with respect to the use thereat of prescribed apparatus and the taking thereat of prescribed steps as it may appear to the Minister requisite or expedient to impose for the purpose of attaining any of the objects mentioned in the foregoing provisions of this section; and regulations having effect by virtue of this subsection may provide either that compliance therewith by the manager of a mine is to be taken, either without qualification or to a prescribed extent, as compliance with all or any of the requirements of the said provisions or that compliance with the regulations by the manager of a mine is not necessarily to be taken as compliance with any of the said requirements
We are now dealing with dust precautions, as the hon. Member for Houghton-le-Spring (Mr. Blyton) said—and we greatly appreciate what he said. It was impressed upon us that we should introduce words to define the means which should be used for suppressing dust, and proposals were made for quoting specific methods, such as water infusion. My right hon. Friend promised to consider the matter.

We have considered it very carefully indeed, and our conclusion is that the state of dust suppression and our general knowledge about dust and the methods of suppressing it are so much in the development stage and are passing so swiftly from one phase to another, as knowledge and experience increase, that it would not be desirable to put into the Bill specific methods, which would be of an immutable character. That would necessarily slow down the pace of development, experience and research, because it would be said that those were the methods laid down for use by an Act of Parliament.

We have therefore adopted the proposal contained in the Amendment whereby they shall be prescribed in regulations. The regulations are not of such an immutable character as the Bill; they can be changed from time to time to keep Pace with the research, knowledge and development which goes on in the industry. We hope and believe that the provision contained in the Amendment will meet the criticism which was raised in Committee and will be agreeable to the House.

Amendment agreed to.