Written answers

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Health and Safety Regulations

Photo of Colm KeaveneyColm Keaveney (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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72. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the reason copies of the two most recent health and safety reports into the psychiatric unit in University Hospital Galway have not been provided to the staff health and safety representative; if disciplinary action has been taken against those responsible for their failure to provide said copies, such failure being contrary to legislation and regulation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20985/15]

Photo of Gerald NashGerald Nash (Louth, Labour)
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The Health and Safety Authority’s national programme of inspections is intended to advise on and support the use of, effective health and safety management, to reduce the risks of workplace injuries, ill health and fatalities in workplaces. The frequency of inspection visits is governed by a range of factors: the standards of health and safety in the workplace; management’s ability and attitudes; and the possibility of changes in standards or hazards between visits.

Inspectors are given a range of powers under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 which enable them to take a number of steps to put the relevant statutory provisions into effect in the context of such visits. There is no statutory obligation on an inspector to present a written report of every visit made to a workplace.

In the context of providing adequate information to employees and their safety representatives, as required underSection 76 of the 2005 Act, it is general practice that when an inspection report is prepared and provided to an employer, the report is also made available to safety representatives, either directly by the inspector or through the employer.

I am informed by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) that following inspections at University Hospital Galway (UCHG), written inspection reports were issued on 31 January 2014 and 17 December 2014.

On both of these occasions, written directions were given to the employer requesting that a copy of the report be made available to the Safety Representative. The Safety Representative confirmed receipt of the report of the December 2014 inspection in a phone conversation with the HSA Inspector on 18 December 2014.

The HSA Inspector revisited the premises on 26 February – without issuing a further written report. On 17 April 2015, a meeting took place between the HSA (Regional Manager and the Inspector) and senior HSE management to discuss the HSA’s concerns about a number of ongoing issues. The Safety Representative was also in attendance. At this meeting, the HSA requested that a plan, including implementation dates, be put in place to deal with issues highlighted.

The HSA Inspector, accompanied by the Regional Manager, inspected the UCHG Psychiatric Unit again on 20 May 2015. No written report was issued on that occasion. Management were made aware that the action plan was still outstanding.

I should point out that throughout this process the HSA Inspector has maintained regular contact with the Safety Representative, whose role it is under the 2005 Act to represent staff in consultations with the employer on matters of safety health and welfare.


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