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Mr. Nicholls : Our Green Paper "Removing Barriers to Employment", which was published on 20 March, contains the proposal that legislation should provide a right of complaint to an industrial tribunal for any individual whom an employer refuses to engage on the
Column 141ground of non-membership of a trade union or of any particular trade union, or on the ground of refusal to agree that he will become a member after his employment has started. The Government believe that this proposal, together with existing legislation, would create a climate in which individuals will no longer have their livelihoods threatened simply because they are not members of a particular union or do not wish to belong to any union.
Mr. Nicholls : Our Green Paper "Removing Barriers to Employment", which was published on 20 March, estimates the total number of people covered by all types of pre-entry closed shop arrangements in Great Britain as being of the order of 1.3 million. This estimate is derived from a recently specially commissioned survey, a summary of which has been placed in the Library.
70. Mr. John Browne : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many representations he has received following the publication of his Green Paper "Removing Barriers to Employment" on the reform of the closed shop ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholls : Our Green Paper "Removing Barriers to Employment" was published on 20 March and the closing date for comments will be 20 June. We are, therefore, in the very early stages of the consultation period. To date we have received four representations on our proposal concerning the pre-entry closed shop and all expressed support for the Government's proposals.
Mr. Nicholls : Considerable help is available to enable unemployed people receive literacy and numeracy training through YTS and ET. Additional support in YTS became available at the beginning of April through improved levels of funding. In ET, almost one in five trainees is receiving literacy and numeracy training. Further initiatives to improve the quality of provision are in hand.
|c|Injury rates per 100,000 employees in the clinical industry<1>|c| |Fatal injuries |<2>Major injuries |<3>All reported injuries ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- <4>1974 |11.3 |n/a |2,419 1978 |3.2 |n/a |2,699 <5>1987-88 |1.2 |160.4 |1,051 <1> Defined as Order 5 of the 1968 Standard Industrial Classification in 1974 and 1978 and Class 25 of the 1980 SIC in 1987-88. <2> The classification on injuries as major was first introduced in 1981. <3> Includes all reported injuries causing more than 3 days absence from work. Comparisons between years may be affected by variable under-reporting of non-fatal injuries. <4> Includes 28 people killed and 36 others who were injured by the explosion at the Flixborough Works and NYPRO (UK) Limited on 1 June 1984. <5> Provisional.
Mr. Nicholls : All cases of fatal injury in the course of work activity are reported to the enforcement authorities. It is not known what proportion of other reportable injuries to people employed in the chemical industry go unreported, but it is thought that it may be less than 50 per cent.
Mr. Nicholls : The employment medical advisory service is not aware of any cases of salmonella poisoning in poultry workers. However, the Health and Safety Executive has established a task force on occupational zoonoses, that is, diseases transmissable from animals to man. The task force will be considering the possible transmission of salmonella in the workplace as part of its remit. It will also be examining proposals for a study to investigate salmonella in air from poultry houses.
Mr. Nicholls : I am satisfied that the standards required under United Kingdom legislation for the guarding of machinery are already high and I see no need for further legislation at present. However, we are awaiting the adoption of two European Community directives which may require some changes to United Kingdom legislation in due course.
56. Mr. Sedgemore : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was the level of the Health and Safety Executive's medical division budget for extra-mural research in 1986, 1987, 1988 and the current financial year.
Year |£ ------------------------------ 1986-87 |1,411,000 1987-88 |1,435,000 1988-89 |1,506,000 1989-90 |1,529,000
Mr. Nicholls : Figures from all enforcing authorities show that in the year ended 31 March 1987, a total of 21 young people aged 16 to 18 were reported as killed in the couse of their employment. The corresponding provisional figure for the year ended 31 March 1988 is 19. I regret that figures for earlier years are not available on this basis.
65. Mrs. Clwyd To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the reduction in the wages inspectorate in Wales and its impact on rates of pay in Mountain Ash and the Cynon Valley.
Mr. Nicholls : The reduction of inspection activity in Wales was part of a general reduction throughout Great Britain in 1986-87. It reflected the simpler and quicker task of checking compliance with wages orders and the expectation that the level of compliance would rise following the reform of the wages council system in 1986. There is no simple link between wages inspection and rates of pay, but in Wales, as in Great Britain as a whole, the percentage of workers found to be underpaid in checks by the wages inspectorate has reduced. Inspection results are not available for areas smaller than Wales as a whole.
74. Sir Hal Miller : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he has any plans to meet the chairman of the national training task force to discuss the improvement of levels of skill amongst the United Kingdom work force.
Column 144chairman of the national training task force. He will be advising me on the establishment of the new training and enterprise councils and their plans for improving the skills of the work force in their area.
Mr. Lee : Productivity in manufacturing, as measured by output per person employed, was 6.5 per cent. greater in the three months ending February 1989 than in the corresponding period ending February 1988. This compares favourably with the average of 4.2 per cent. a year recorded for the period 1979 to 1988. Since 1980 growth in United Kingdom manufacturing productivity has exceeded that of the other major industrialised countries.
Productivity for the economy as a whole was 0.5 per cent. higher in the fourth quarter of 1988 than it was in the fourth quarter of 1987. However the 1988 figure was adversely affected by the Piper Alpha disaster and other oil industry interruptions.
Mr. Nicholls : The Health and Safety Executive has published a guidance note and a free booklet on VDUs and is participating in the development of national and international standards for VDUs, including discussions within the European Community on a proposed VDU directive. The executive is also supporting four research projects in universities and research institutes on, or directly related to working with VDUs.
78. Mr. John Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he has any plans to meet the chairman of the British Venture Capital Association to discuss the development of small businesses ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholls : All cases of fatal injury in the course of agricultural work activities are reported to the Health and Safety Executive's Her Majesty's agricultural inspectorate. It is not known what proportion of other reportable accidents from agricultural activities go unreported, but it is thought to be more than 50 per cent.
|Number ---------------------- 1974 |25 1979 |24 1984 |4 <1>1988 |10 <1> Provisional.
Mr. Nicholls : The available information for employees is shown in the table. It has not been possible to produce a series of injury rates for the large number of self-employed and others involved in agricultural activity.
|c|Injury rates per 100,000 employees in the agricultural industry<1>|c| |Fatal injuries |Major injuries<2> ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1974 |8.7 |n/a 1978 |7.1 |n/a <3>1987-88 |5.8 |152.8 <1> Defined as minimum list heading 001 of the 1968 standard industrial classification in 1974 and 1978 and class 01 of the 1980 SIC in 1987-88. <2> The classification of injuries as major was first introduced in 1981. <3> Provisional.
Mr. Nicholls : There is no ruling preventing men aged over 60 from claiming unemployment benefit in the normal way. Under a special concession men, over 60 who do not qualify for UB or whose entitlement is exhausted may claim income support and--or be credited with national insurance contributions without regularly attending the unemployment benefit office to sign on as unemployed. Jobcentre services are available to everyone, regardless of whether they are claiming at a UBO and staff are happy to discuss options with anyone seeking work, whatever their age.
Mr. Cope : Responsibility for the future development of local enterprise agencies, which are independent private sector led organisations, rests primarily with their boards and private sector backers.
Column 146The introduction of training and enterprise councils will provide those LEAs able to demonstrate high-quality service with the opportunity to contract for counselling and other enterprise programmes.
Mr. Lee : The Government believe that the best way to improve job prospects for all age groups is to maintain a strong economy and to allow the labour market to work efficiently. Recruitment decisions must be left to employers, but in making them they should not discriminate unfairly on age grounds. Demographic trends make it particularly important at present that the contribution which older workers can make to the economy is fully utilised. We are putting these messages across to employers through various media, and I am encouraged by evidence that some firms are already adopting a more positive approach in their recruitment and employment practices.
Mr. Nicholls : The Construction Industry Training Board was established by the Industrial Training (Construction Board) Order 1964 for the purpose of encouraging the adequate training of persons employed or intending to be employed in the construction industry. As envisaged in the White Paper "Employment for the 1990s" (Cm. 540) I have asked the chairman of the board to bring forward proposals for future arrangements.
|c|Injuries in the mining industry reported to enforcing authorities<1>|c| Incidence rates (per 100,000 employees) |Fatal |Serious/ major|Fatal |Serious/major ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1974 Coal mines<4> |48 |<2>497 |18.7 |<2>193.6 Other mines |2 |<2>14 |n/a |n/a |------- |------- |------- |------- Total |50 |<2>511 |n/a |n/a 1978 Coal mines<4> |63 |<2>494 |25.4 |<2>199.1 Other mines |6 |<2>17 |n/a |n/a |------- |------- |------- |------- Total |69 |<2>511 |n/a |n/a 1987-88<5> Coal mines<4> |12 |<3>756 |11.2 |<3>708.5 Other mines |1 |<3>14 |n/a |n/a |------- |------- |------- |------- Total |13 |<3>770 |n/a |n/a n/a-Not available. <1>Reported to HSE's Inspectorate of Mines and Quarries and all other relevant enforcing authorities. <2>Serious injuries as reported under 1954 Mines and Quarries Act. <3>Major injuries as reported under the Reporting af Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 1985, which widened the definition of serious injury as compared with the 1954 Act definition. <4>Excludes opencast coal mining. <5>Provisional data for the year commencing 1 April 1987.
Mr. Nicholls : Provisional accident figures for the 12-month period ending 31 March 1989 indicate that fatal and major injuries at private coal mines represented 10 per cent. and 3.3 per cent. respectively of the total reported accidents in these categories at all coal mines.
It is not possible to differentiate the over three-day accidents recorded under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1985 without incurring disproportionate cost.
117. Mr. Parry : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was the target figure for the number of nuclear installations inspectors to be in post by 1 April 1989 ; and what are the target figures for 1 April 1990 and 1 April 1991.
Mr. Nicholls : The Health and Safety Executive planned to have 140 nuclear installations inspectors in post on 1 April 1989 and to increase this to 160 by 1 April 1990. Staffing beyond these dates depends on future work loads which cannot be predicted with precision.
121. Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when he last met representatives of the Health and Safety Commission and Executive to discuss the accident rates of young people at work.
Column 148Young people's accident rates have been raised in correspondence in the context of the Department's consultative document "Restrictions on the Employment of Young People and the Removal of Sex Discrimination in legislation".
Mr. Nicholls : Latest figures from the Health and Safety Executive suggest that injury rates for young people aged 16 to 24 are now lower than the corresponding injury rates for employees as a whole. The Government will continue to support the efforts of the Health and Safety Commission and Executive to reduce accidents to workers of all ages.
125. Mr. David Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received on the proposals contained in his Green Paper to reform further the law covering secondary industrial action.
Mr. Nicholls : Our Green Paper "Removing Barriers to Employment" was published on 20 March and the closing date for comments is 20 June. We are, therefore, in the very early stages of the consultation period. To date, one representation has been received on these Green Paper proposals.
Mr. Cope : We have received several hundred representations following publication of the White Paper "Employment for the 1990s", the majority of which have expressed interest in and support for the introduction of training and enterprise councils. The prospectus inviting local groups led by employers to submit proposals for forming training and enterprise councils in their areas was published on 10 March.
Mr. Nicholls : The Health and Safety Executive's agricultural inspectorate's programme of preventive visits is planned on the basis of a rating system. There is no fixed period between inspections ; premises with poor standards, poor management or high-risk potential being inspected more frequently. Visits to investigate accidents, dangerous occurrences and complaints are made on a reactive basis.
130. Mr. Terry Fields : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will make a statement on the implementation of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations in harbour areas.
Column 149will apply to any store-based work activities in harbour areas where substances hazardous to health are used or given off. The only exceptions will be asbestos, lead and ionising radiations which are covered by other regulations.
The regulations will also apply to certain activities on board ships in dock. The COSHH will not impose duties on the master or crew of a seagoing ship or their employer in relation to the normal shipboard activities of a ship crew under the direction of a master.
132. Mr. Ronnie Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what training and information has been given to the agricultural inspectorate on environmental assessment associated with the Food and Environment Protection Act.
Mr. Nicholls : Prior to undertaking their enforcement responsibilities under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985, the Health and Safety Executive's agricultural inspectors are given a week's specific training on the requirements and implications of the Act. This is supplemented as required by further local and national training.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many agricultural inspectors were conducting preventive inspections on the following dates, 6 June 1988, 7 September 1988 and 23 January 1989.
Mr. Nicholls : Agricultural inspectors in the Health and Safety Executives area offices are not employed solely on preventive inspections but also make visits in response to accidents or other incidents, complaints, inquiries or to follow up previously identified shortcomings.
Staffing figures are recorded on the first of each month. The numbers of agricultural inspectors in area offices on 1 June 1988, 1 September 1988 and 1 February 1989 were 137, 145 and 142 respectively.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on (a) the future operation of the employment training scheme allowance following the introduction of the community charge in Scotland and (b) his plans for its operation in England and Wales after April 1990.
Mr. Nicholls : As announced on 12 April, the benefit- related part of employment training, training allowances will be increased in line with the general uprating in benefits. When he announced this uprating on 27 October 1988, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security explained how the new levels of benefit allow for individual liability for the community charge in Scotland, England and Wales.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what advice or recommendations he has received from the Health and Safety Executive on the enforcement of existing, or introduction of new, legislation as a means of helping to reduce the use of pesticides against wildlife.
Mr. Nicholls : The advisory committee on pesticides advises Ministers on pesticides and their usage. All pesticides undergo a full environmental safety assessment before being approved by Ministers for use.
The Health and Safety Executive enforces all aspects of the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986 under the terms of an agency agreement. However, where incidents affecting wildlife come to the attention of HSE's inspectors, they refer them to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, which has existing arrangements for investigating such incidents.
50. Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what are the differences between the assessment processes required under the Asbestos and Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations.
53. Mr. Pendry : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what training is being provided for Health and Safety Executive employees on the implementation and enforcement of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations.
99. Mr. Leighton : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what training is being provided for Health and Safety Executive employees on the implementation and enforcement of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations.
Mr. Nicholls : The Health and Safety Executive has established a comprehensive programme of internal conferences and special meetings to train its employees on the aspects of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations appropriate to their individual responsibilities. Although the principles of occupational hygiene now enshrined in the regulation are not new to Health and Safety Executive inspectors, doctors and scientists, the training and briefing on the implementation of the regulations now being provided will ensure a consistent approach.
34. Mr. Dover : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the average monthly fall in the number of unemployed during the last quarter for which figures are available ; and if he will make a statement.