London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Hounslow 1965

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Hounslow]

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Noise nuisances—Three hundred and three inspections were made in connection with 36 complaints of the following types.

Industrial noises6Youth centre1
Building and demolition2Pigeons1
Testing of machinery1
Garages2Road breakers5
Motor vehicles4Bowling alley1
Motorcycles on waste land1Dogs1
Noisy neighbours11
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All complaints are carefully investigated and,
where justification is proved, offenders are given all
possible advice and assistance in devising means for
remedying the nuisance or reducing noise to tolerable
limits. Legal proceedings under the Noise Abatement
Act 1960 were not taken during the year.
Rodent control—Arising out of London local
government reorganisation it has been necessary
during the year to reorganise the rodent control
service so as to ensure that those parts of the new
borough, where by reason of the age and density of
buildings, there appears to be a greater rat
population, receive the degree of treatment they
require. It was not possible to bring the improved
service into operation until late in the year and
results in terms of statistical tables do not therefore
show a spectacular increase. It is expected that a full
year's working will produce very satisfactory
results.
Under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1954
the borough council is obliged to recover its expenses
in destroying rats and mice on business premises,
but no charge is made for the treatment of private
dwellings unless there is a failure on the part of the
owner or occupier to co-operate in preventing
infestation.
A copy of the return submitted to the Minister of
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food appears as Table 25.
Other infestations—Bugs, fleas and lice are much
less prevalent than they were a few years ago, but the
department deals with such infestations as are found.
Wasps' nests, ants, cockroaches and other insects,
make greater demands on the disinfestors' time. Two
hundred and thirty-eight wasps' nests were destroyed
and 170 premises treated for other vermin during
the year.
Treatment of static waters is also carried out to
control the breeding of mosquitoes. A cleansing
station maintained by a neighbouring borough is used
for the treatment of verminous persons and bedding.
Small items are treated in the council's own disinfector
unit, which is also used for the sterilisation of medical
aids and similar articles before re-issue by welfare
officers to patients.
Offices, Shops & Railway Premises Act 1963
Section 60 of the Act requires authorities to submit
to the Minister of Labour an annual report of their
proceedings under the Act. The report contains
particulars in the form prescribed by the Offices,
Shops and Railway Premises Annual Reports Order
1964 and appears as Table 26 with which is incorporated
a special report on lighting standards,
requested by the Minister of Labour in Circular LA 9
(Supp No 1).
It is perhaps unfortunate that the full impact of
the Act and the numerous Orders, Regulations and
Circulars fell upon local authorities in the London
area at a time when they were suffering some
unavoidable disruption arising from reorganisation.
Nevertheless, administration in the borough has
been pursued by the allocation of a part of the time
of all the public health inspectors, 20 in number, to
duties under the Act. Progress with initial and
subsequent inspections has been maintained to the
limit of the resources available, and provided no other
dire public health emergencies arise, it is expected
that all premises affected will be inspected and brought
into conformity with legal requirements in a shorter
time than was once envisaged.
No exemptions from the provisions of the Act
were granted during the year.
All accidents notified are investigated whether or
not they are of a type in respect of which investigation
is obligatory, and the opportunity is taken to secure
amendment of structures, fittings or methods, designed
to prevent a repetition of a similar incident even
though there may have been no breach of the Act.
Advice to this end is given to employers and employees
alike, and the latter in particular are reminded that in
this mechanised age there is no room for carelessness
or bravado, or disregard of safety measures introduced
for their protection. While it is not always easy to
suggest how to avoid incidents where, for example,
a person working normally at a job he or she has been
doing for years efficiently and in perfect safety, for
no apparent reason twists a muscle, cuts a finger, or
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