Oral Answers to Questions — Silicosis.

– in the House of Commons on 21st July 1942.

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Photo of Mr James Griffiths Mr James Griffiths , Llanelly

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he can now make a statement indicating the steps he proposes to take with a view to implementing the recommendations made by the Medical Research Council Committee on silicosis among coalminers?

Photo of Mr Tom Smith Mr Tom Smith , Normanton

As regards the improvement and wider application of preventive measures at the mines chiefly affected, which are in South Wales, my right hon. Friend has made proposals to the Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners' Association and the South Wales Miners' Federation, which they have promptly accepted, and these are now being put into effect. They involve the appointment by each association of a small committee to work and take action in collaboration with the two Divisional Inspectors of Mines along the lines of procedure which are already being followed with good results in the anthracite area. The extension of rights of workmen's compensation is a matter for the Home Secretary and his proposals, which are being planned in consultation with my right hon. Friend, will be communicated to the two sides of the industry before action is taken.

Photo of Mr James Griffiths Mr James Griffiths , Llanelly

While thanking my hon. Friend, may I ask him, firstly, in regard to compensation, whether I can have his assurance that the old cases will be considered when any changes in the Act are arrived at, and, secondly, in regard to the preventive measures, whether it would be possible for him to send to me and to others who are interested a statement indicating the detailed preventive measures which are being recommended by the Ministry?

Photo of Mr Tom Smith Mr Tom Smith , Normanton

With regard to the first part of the Supplementary Question, my hon. Friend will know that this report proposes to alter the word "silicosis" to "pneumono-coniosis," and that there will therefore be some old cases. My hon. Friend can take it for granted that consideration is being given to those cases. With regard to the second part of the Supplementary Question, I shall have pleasure in sending to my hon. Friend a copy of the preventive measures; I have looked over them, and I think personally that they are capable of doing a good deal of good in allaying the cause of the disease in that particular area.