Mines (Medical Inspection).

Oral Answers to Questions — Government Departments. – in the House of Commons on 10th February 1942.

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Photo of Sir Frederick Messer Sir Frederick Messer , Tottenham South

asked the Secretary for Mines whether, in view of the greatly increased demand for tin and the possibility of tin mines in this country being reopened, he is satisfied that the one medical inspector in the Mines Department now responsible for nearly 1,000,000 workers in mines and quarries is sufficient medical staff?

Photo of Mr David Grenfell Mr David Grenfell , Gower

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave on 3rd February to a Question by the hon. Member for Rochdale (Dr. Morgan), of which I am sending him a copy.

Photo of Sir Frederick Messer Sir Frederick Messer , Tottenham South

Notwithstanding that answer, is my hon. Friend aware that silicosis is very much more prevalent among tin-miners than coalminers, and has he read the annual report for 1938 which shows that out of 1,500 workers 20 died of silicosis, and does not that call for some action?

Photo of Mr David Grenfell Mr David Grenfell , Gower

It is well-known that silicosis is prevalent in Cornish tin mines and certain preventive precautions were laid down by regulation to protect the workers against the incidence of this disease. I do not think that the men in Cornwall are lacking attention for want of medical knowledge on the subject.

Photo of Sir Frederick Messer Sir Frederick Messer , Tottenham South

Is the Secretary for Mines satisfied that he has a sufficient inspectorate?

Photo of Mr David Grenfell Mr David Grenfell , Gower

Yes, Sir, I think it is sufficient for this purpose, but my hon. Friend and the House know that a very extensive investigation has been going on under the Research Board. The Lord President of the Council is in charge of it, and I am expecting a very comprehensive report from that body within a few weeks.