Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Health and Safety Authority

Photo of Joan CollinsJoan Collins (Dublin South Central, Independents 4 Change)
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598. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of inspectors the HSA has to inspect workplaces to ensure they are compliant with Covid-19 public health measures; the number of additional inspectors which it will need to recruit in order to respond to inspections; if consideration has been given to bringing trade unions under the HSA regulation (details supplied); if not, the reason therefor; and if the proposal been discussed with the trade union movement. [6280/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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Compliance with the national Return to Work Safely Protocol is being led by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), who have overall responsibility for ensuring the health, safety and welfare at work of all workers.

The Protocol was drafted in close consultation with the social partners under the auspices of the Labour and Employer Economic Forum and agreed with them.

The HSA is deploying all its available inspectors across sectors to carry out both spot checks and other inspections to check compliance with the Protocol.  The HSA inspectorate will be supplemented significantly by deploying, under the authority of the HSA, other inspectors from across the system who already have an environmental health, agriculture or other workplace/business inspection responsibilities.  As we have seen with the general public health measures over the past two months, most people are complying with the rules. We can expect the same from employers and workers, most of who want to get back to work, and want the workplace to be safe, for them and for the families that they are returning to in the evenings.

I am expecting employers and workers, in line with what is set out in the Protocol, to actively and jointly take responsibility for applying the clear measures set out in the Protocol, for the health and safety of all concerned.

Even with the enhanced cohort of inspectors available to the HSA, they cannot be expected to go into every business in the country. That would be entirely unrealistic and unachievable. What they will do is a mix of unannounced inspections, along with providing advice and information through the HSAs Workplace Contact Unit email and phoneline  wcu@hsa.ieand Tel: 1890 289 389.

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