The Mines and Quarries Act of 1954 was ultimately concerned with the health and safety of employees who worked within the mines. Its legislation was introduced in order to prevent accidents and injury to those employed in that environment.
Passed on 25th November 1954, this act aimed to improve the condition of mines and quarries across Britain. The main provisions of this act were to firstly secure the safety, health and welfare of all persons employed by the mines and quarries. Secondly, the 1954 act was brought in to regulate the employment of women and young people. Thirdly, the act concerned the fencing off of abandoned mines and quarries, again to prevent accidents and injuries. As shown, the 1954 Mines and Quarries Act was mainly concerned with work below the ground. However, section 73 of the 195 sectioned document made it illegal to be employed in a confined space where there was no means of escape.
The Mines and Quarries Act 1954 has been revoked by further regulations and amended many times. Subsequent legislation includes the Mines and Quarries (Tips) Act of 1969 and the Mines Management Act of 1971.
The Management and Administration of Safety and Health in Mines Regulations revoked the later act and the mines section of the 1954 Mines and Quarries Act in 1993. Parts of the 1954 act dealing with quarries have also been replaced by the Quarries Regulations in 1999.
The Aberfan disaster
The Aberfan disaster in 1966, in which 144 people died, occurred when a mine in Aberfan, South Wales collapsed due to a buildup of water. A buildup of water in the shale and rock formed slurry, which slid downhill and covered the village and many of the victims were children from the local primary school. Due to the concerns raised in the aftermath of the Aberfan disaster, the British government produced new legislation. This formulated in the Mines and Quarries (Tips) Act of 1969.
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