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Health And Safety

Volume 974: debated on Wednesday 21 November 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment in how many cases of death which appeared to have arisen out of industrial employment were coroners' inquests held in England and Wales and sheriffs' inquiries held in Scotland during the period 1976 to 1978; how many such deaths were attributable to (a) industrial accidents, (b) industrial poisonings, (c) industrial diseases, other than cancer, and (d) industrial cancers; and how many inquests and inquiries were attended by one of Her Majesty's inspectors of health and safety.

[pursuant to his reply, 25 October 1979, c. 265–57]: I am advised by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department that statistics are not available for the number of inquests held in England and Wales for the period 1976 to 1978 in the cases of deaths arising out of industrial employment. The only statistics available relate to the number of inquests held in cases of deaths arising from all types of industrial disease and are as follows:

YearNumber of inquests*
1976784
1977784
1978764
* Deaths arising from all types of industrial disease.
My hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General for Scotland advises me that there are no figures available for the number of sheriffs' inquiries, arising out of industrial employment, held in Scotland in the period 1976–78, and I refer the hon. Member to the written answer given to his earlier question on 12 July 1979.—[Vol. 970, c.

253–55.] I am further advised that the following table shows the number of fatal accident inquiries held, and the total number of deaths reported to the procurator fiscal in Scotland, for the period 1976 to 1978:

Year

Number of fatal accident inquiries

Deaths reported to the procurator fisca

19761968,250
19772367,950
197823910,980

It is not known in how many cases where coroners' inquests or sheriffs' inquiries were held, deaths were attributable to ( a) industrial accidents, ( b)

industrial poisonings, ( c) industrial diseases, other than cancer, and ( d) industrial cancers.

The only information available on the lines of the categories specified covers

Cause of death

1976

1977

1978

*

Industrial accident788737

8

Industrial Poisonings452
Other Industrial disease633619

42

Industrial cancers112111

66

* Figures for 1978 awards of industrial death benefit are provisional at this stage and will be revised upwards later in the year.

I am informed by the chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that 1977 and 1978 are the earliest years for which total attendances at coroners' inquests and sheriffs' inquiries have been recorded by all of Her Majesty's inspectorates of health and safety. The total attendances are as follows:

Year

Number of inquests and inquiries attended

1977431
1978461