MR. J. WILSON (Durham)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that a workman named Samuel Ward was killed at Usnorth Colliery (Durham) on 14th June, and that it was stated in evidence that his death arose from the "refuge hole" being too small to afford security to the deceased and three of his fellow-workmen; and whether he can state what size these refuge holes should be, and what distance they should be from the rails upon which the tubs or waggons travel?
§ MR. ASQUITH
The Inspector reports to me that the death of Samuel Ward was not due to the refuge hole being too small. The actual distance from the side of the tubs on the rails to the back of the hole was five feet, and the depth of the hole from the side of the road was three feet six inches, and the width five feet four inches. The Act of Parliament (50 & 51 Vict., c. 58, ss. 49, 14) does not proscribe the size of the refuge holes, or their distance from the rails, beyond requiring them to be sufficient. The deceased would have been safe had he not, as I am informed, leant out of the hole, when he was caught by one of the tubs, several of which had got off the rails.