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Laboratories, Technical Colleges And University Departments (Safety)

Volume 644: debated on Wednesday 12 July 1961

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asked the Minister of Labour what action is taken by the Factory Inspectorate, and on what basis, to ensure safe conditions in the laboratories of technical colleges and university departments; and whether he will take steps to extend the scope of the Factory Inspectorate in this respect.

The closest contact is maintained between my inspectors and Her Majesty's inspectors of schools in advising local education authorities and technical colleges on these questions. The Factory Inspectorate is also helping to prepare a code of practice for protection against radiation hazards in research establishments.

Does not the Minister agree with me that that Answer is not completely satisfactory? As long ago as 1949 the Gowers Report suggested that legislation should be framed to cover students in colleges of this kind. Does he not recall that we discussed the matter in Committee on the Factories Bill some two or three years ago? Will he not accede to the second half of my Question and promise to bring in legislation to cover these students?

I am afraid that I cannot agree with the hon. Member. My information is that the present arrangements are working satisfactorily. My advice is available and is readily sought in both colleges and universities. Unless the hon. Member has information which I do not possess, I do not think that he is justified in asking for legislation.

On a point of order. In view of the fact that I am not content with that answer, I shall ask leave to raise the matter on the Adjournment on the first possible occasion.