§ 11. Mr. TINKER
asked the Secretary for Mines if His Majesty's inspectors have drawn his attention to the high temperature prevailing in the deep mines, in some instances exceeding 100 degrees; and will he consider amending the Coal Mines Act so as to prevent men working where the temperature exceeds a certain point?
§ Mr. E. BROWN
I would refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave to his previous question on 11th July, when I said that the question of high temperatures in some of the deeper mine workings is constantly engaging the attention of the inspectors, and is also being studied by the Hot and Deep Mines Committee. It is true that the air—dry bulb—temperature in some deep workings reaches, and may slightly exceed 100° Fahrenheit, but the associated wet bulb temperature seldom exceeds 80° Fahrenheit, and it is the latter that is the more important when considering the effect of temperature upon the health of the workers. The investigations of the Hot and Deep Mines Committee have shown that acclimatised men can work without undue fatigue in wet bulb temperatures of over 80°, and there is no evidence that such work does any serious injury to the men's health or shortens their lives.
§ Mr. TINKER
May I take it that the hon. Member holds that men should work in a temperature of 100° Fahrenheit, and that he is telling the House that men can work in comfort in that kind of heat?
§ Sir BERTRAM FALLE
May I ask the hon. Gentleman if this is not the temperature in the stokeholds of His Majesty's ships in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea?
§ Mr. BROWN
I cannot give a general answer to a supplementary question of that kind. It depends upon many circumstances. My hon. Friend will remember that there have been 17 reports by the Committee of the Institute of Mining Engineers on this complicated and very difficult subject, and there is a general statement by Dr. Haldane in 1929, which I shall be very pleased to discuss with him, but I cannot do it by means of supplementary questions.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
Will the hon. Member bear in mind that coal miners sometimes have to work very nearly naked because of the heat, and does he not think that it is very dangerous to work under conditions under which these men have to work?
§ 12. Mr. TINKER
asked the Secretary for Mines how many mines there are over 500 yards deep, 750 yards deep, and how many exceed 1,000 yards deep; and can he say what is the greatest depth at the working face that any mine is at present working?
§ Mr. BROWN
I would refer the hon. Member to the Tables beginning on 715 page 188 of Vol. 3 of the Report of the Royal Commission of 1925. These give particulars for the years 1913 and 1924 of the tonnage of coal classified according to the depths of the seams worked. I regret that no later general information is available. So far as I am aware, the answer to the second part of the question is about 1,250 yards.