Oral Answers to Questions — Coal Industry (Dermatitis)

– in the House of Commons on 26th November 1942.

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Mr. Henry White:

asked the Home Secretary (1) the number of cases of dermatitis known to him as occurring in the coalmining industry in the years 1938, 1939, 1940 and 1941 respectively;

(2) the number of cases of dermatitis amongst coalminers for which compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Acts was paid in the years 1938, 1939, 1940 and 1941 respectively?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

The number of cases of dermatitis produced by dust or liquids certified by examining surgeons was 254 in 1938, 305 in 1939, 402 in 1940 and 571 in 1941, the last figure being provisional. The number of new cases in which compensation was paid in 1938 was 175. I regret that corresponding figures for later years are not available.

Mr. White:

asked the Home Secretary what steps are being taken to ascertain whether or not the large number of cases of dermatitis among miners which are being deemed by medical referees to be of a non-occupational nature, thereby depriving the sufferers of payments under the Workmen's Compensation Acts are, in fact, attributable to the nature of their employment?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

No representations have been made to me in regard to the cases mentioned by my hon. Friend. The decision as to whether the workman is disabled by a particular disease included in the Schedule (in this case dermatitis produced by dust or liquids) rests with the medical referee, and I have no power of review, but if my hon. Friend will furnish me with particulars as to the class of case he has in mind, I shall be glad to consider them.

Mr. White:

I shall be glad to do so.