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Clause 87—(Sanitary Conveniences)

Volume 529: debated on Thursday 1 July 1954

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8.0 p.m

I beg to move, in page 56, line 3, after "thereat," to insert:

"(as well below as above ground)."
The object of the Amendment is to make clear that the provision required under the Bill applies below as well as above ground.

I find myself in a similar quandary to that in which I was yesterday. I do not know whether the Clause will apply to men employed in quarries. I want the men in quarries to get the same benefits from the Bill as the men employed in mines. There is nothing in the Clause to say whether they are included or excluded, but Clause 107, to which I was referred yesterday, says:

"Sections sixty-six and seventy-three to eighty-nine of this Act (except sections seventy-six and eighty-seven) …"
I am anxious to know why there should be this exception. Perhaps the Minister will say that for any reference to a mine there should be substituted reference to a quarry. Why in one Clause does he take out the miner from the Bill and then in another Clause in an indirect way try to put him back again? I should like a definite assurance that quarrymen will not be excluded from the welfare regulations covering sanitary conveniencies.

General welfare regulations are outside the scope of the Amendment. As the hon. Gentleman will have seen, there is a part of the Bill which deals with safety and welfare provisions in quarries.

On the point about the provision of sanitary conveniences, that is not applied to quarries because it would be impracticable to do so. The method covering the requirement of sanitary conveniencies in quarries is that of regulations whereby the inspectors have powers to require provision to be made where suitable; but quarries are very different from mines in this respect. One gets hundreds of quarries which are worked intermittently. The definition of quarries covers even the small gravel pit on a farm where it would be totally unreasonable to require a substantial amount of expenditure for the erection of a building which, in any event, probably would not meet with the town and country planning requirements in the situation in which it was required to be set.

We have considered the point. I assure the hon. Member that the Committee went into it very thoroughly. The conclusion which we arrived at was that the extension of the existing principle was the proper method of procedure whereby the provision of conveniences could be required as a result of an inspector calling upon an owner to provide them where necessary.

Does the Minister want to deprive quarryworkers of sufficient and suitable sanitary conveniences because some small quarries will not be obliged to put them up? The Bill says:

"All sanitary conveniences … shall be kept clean and properly maintained and reasonable provision shall be made for lighting them."
Surely that is as essential in a quarry as it is in a factory or a mine. The quarrymen ought to be included in the Clause.

I support what the Parliamentary Secretary said. The definition of quarries is very wide and it includes a great number of small pits on farms, where perhaps for a few days in the year a few men may be engaged getting road metal for farm roads. It would be an impossible position if every little quarry of that sort had to have something in the nature of a sanitary convenience.

While I do not expect a reply now, may I ask the Minister to consider putting in something of a more definite character to provide that where above a certain number of men are employed the amenities mentioned should be provided?

Hon. Gentlemen will appreciate that in the matter of mines and quarries several differences should be taken into account. This consideration has led us to deal with the problem in quarries by regulation. That is certainly the most convenient method because of the great variety of quarries. However, I give an undertaking that, in addition to re-enacting the existing regulations for quarries, which deal with the subject already, and which under the Bill—

Order. I am not at all clear. When I look at the Clause I see that it does not appear to deal with quarries. As far as I can see, it deals with mines.

That is true, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, but as you allowed debate on the subject, perhaps you will allow me to say that I will look at the matter, especially when the new regulations come to be made.

I think that the union interests among quarryworkers would be well satisfied if the Minister conformed to what he has repeatedly said in Committee and maintained the substance of the present regulations and also, in any case of extending or changing any one of them, he closely consulted both sides of the industry.

May I put a point to you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker? On page 56, under the heading Part IV, there is a definite reference to:

"Management and Control (Quarries)."

If the hon. Gentleman will look at the Paper, he will find that we have not.

With all respect, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, the point was raised that Clause 107 affects Clause 87. That was why the question was introduced.

Yes. I am afraid that I let the debate go wider than it should have gone. I did not notice what the hon. Member was saying at the time. We have not reached Clause 107.

Amendment agreed to.