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Factories (Safety Officers)

Volume 654: debated on Wednesday 28 February 1962

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asked the Minister of Labour if he will state the number of factories, the percentage of factories, the number of workers, the percentage of workers, the number of safety committees meeting at least twice a year, and the number of full-time safety officers, a group safety officer to count as one, in factories of the following size groups: 1–25 persons, 26–50, 51–100, 101–250, 251–500, 501–1,000, 1,001 upwards.

The latest analysis of registered factories by size groups and percentages of employees in the size groups is given in Appendix II to the Report of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Factories for 1959. I regret that the information asked for about safety committees and safety officers is not available.

That is very unfortunate. It has been said time and again, both by the Government and by all organisations concerned with safety in work, that safety committees form a very important part of the preventive machinery. Is it not rather deplorable that there are no statistics as to the number of safety committees in existence? Cannot the Minister have this looked at again.

I agree with what the hon. and learned Gentleman said in the first part of his supplementary question. I think that the time and effort which would be required by the Factory Inspectorate to obtain this information would be much better used in getting on with its job of preventing accidents.

That is all very well, but cannot the Minister at least give some picture of the extent to which safety committees ate used even in the biggest factories? I see the difficulty of working it out through the whole range of industry, and I sympathise with him in that difficulty, but surely some picture can be given as to the extent to which safety committees are used.

If the hon. and learned Gentleman would put down another Question, I will try to answer him.