§ MR. HERBERT SAMUEL (Yorkshire, Cleveland)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether there is any instruction of the Home Office to inspectors of mines not to take official cognisance of fatal accidents if an interval of a year and a day has elapsed between the date of the accident and the date of death; if so, whether such a rule prevents the attendance of the inspectors, unless specially summoned, at the inquests in cases of this kind, besides introducing in-accuracy into the statistics of mortality in mines; and whether he will instruct the inspectors of mines, and, if necessary, the inspectors of factories and workshops also, that the interval of a year and a day 855 should affect their action only where a criminal charge is involved.
(Answered by Mr. Secretary Akers-Douglas.) For the purposes of the mining statistics the inspectors are instructed to include as fatal all accidents which result in death within a year and a day. Some limit of time is required, and the limit adopted corresponds with that under the criminal law in regard to murder. The rule has been in force for many years, and the number of cases that would be excluded by it would be too few to affect the statistics appreciably. The rule does not apply to the attendance of the inspector at the inquest, or prevent him taking official cognisance of the matter. In most cases, however, the accident will already have been reported to, and dealt with by, him as a non-fatal accident.