Building Industry (Safety)

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th November 1970.

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Photo of Mr James Boyden Mr James Boyden , Bishop Auckland 12:00 am, 12th November 1970

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will introduce measures to improve safety in the building industry.

Photo of Mr Dudley Smith Mr Dudley Smith , Warwick and Leamington

Comprehensive regulations covering safety in the construction industry were made in 1961 and 1966, and my right hon. Friend has no plans at present for altering or adding to these.

Photo of Mr James Boyden Mr James Boyden , Bishop Auckland

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the daily accident figures in the building industry are a national disgrace? Is his Department prepared to spend more money on publicity and other action to get to the root of the matter and also to consult the trade unions, the F.M.B. and the N.F.B.T.E. about the best way of spending this money?

Photo of Mr Dudley Smith Mr Dudley Smith , Warwick and Leamington

All accidents are undesirable and the more that they can be reduced the better. The hon. Gentleman may not be entirely aware that the numbers of accidents in the construction industry have been going up, whereas there has been a slight reduction where building is concerned, to which his Question refers. But there is no reason why anyone should be complacent. I agree that the rate is too high and every possible measure must be taken by way of consultation and example to try to improve the situation.

Photo of Sir Ronald Bell Sir Ronald Bell , Buckinghamshire South

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that a great contribution could be made to safety in the construction industry by discontinuing British Standard Time in winter?

Photo of Mr Dudley Smith Mr Dudley Smith , Warwick and Leamington

That is another matter entirely. I am sure that we have our personal views about it. I understand that we shall have an opportunity shortly to vote on it.

Photo of Mr Harold Walker Mr Harold Walker , Doncaster

The hon. Gentleman will recall that the Employed Persons (Health and Safety) Bill was largely an agreed measure and eagerly sought after by his Department's Industrial Health Advisory Committee and Industrial Safety Advisory Committee. Will he tell the House whether his Department has any intention of introducing it?

Photo of Mr Dudley Smith Mr Dudley Smith , Warwick and Leamington

Yes. My right hon. Friend has it under active consideration, and there is no objection to it. As the hon. Gentleman well knows, when I responded to him from that side of the House I gave the Bill an unreserved welcome.