Written answers

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Health and Safety Inspections

Patricia Ryan (Kildare South, Sinn Fein)
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402. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of farm safety inspectors employed; the level of farm safety inspections in the past three months versus the same period in 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10608/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy will appreciate that the first half of 2020 has been marked significantly by the Covid-19 crisis.  For a period from late March until May, while investigations and associated work continued, very few inspectors were carrying out routine inspections in the normal way, due the measures taken to contain the spread of the virus.  Over the last few weeks the inspectors of the Health and Safety Authority have focused their inspections on sectors and on businesses reopening in accordance with the Governments phased reopening of the economy with a particular emphasis on compliance issues relating to the Return to Work Safely Protocol.

Nevertheless, the agriculture sector remains a priority for the HSA and inspections are continuing in the sector.  Currentlythe number of inspectors available to carryout farm inspections as part of their inspection programmeis forty (40). The Deputy should note that theseInspectors are assigned inspections in several different sectors including the agricultural sector.

The comparison on the numbers of farm inspections undertaken between periods in 2019 and 2020 are set out in the table below, and must be read in the context of Ireland’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Farm safety Inspections numbers

Period 2019 2020
1st January to 8th June 1,190 539
1st March to 8th June 705 59

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