Thursday, 13 July 2023
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
357. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the estimated cost of establishing and fully resourcing the health and social care advisory committee within the Health and Safety Authority; the additional staffing and inspection requirements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35137/23]
Following a recent meeting with representatives of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, Minister Coveney asked the Board of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) to consider establishing a new Health and Social Care Advisory Committee of the Board under Section 38 of the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. The purpose of such Committee would be to place a particular focus on health and safety issues in health and social care service provision in the same way as with the construction and agricultural sectors. It could also develop new and targeted activities aimed at reducing the large number of incidents, injuries, and accidents in the sector.
The Chairperson of the Board has confirmed that it will establish a Health and Social Care Advisory Committee. Terms of reference for this Committee are being prepared and will be considered by the Board at its next meeting in September. In the absence of agreed terms of reference, it is not possible, at this stage, to set out the potential additional impacts of the work of this advisory committee on the HSA’s existing or future programmes of work or resources.
I would add, however, that the HSA had increased resources focusing on the health sector during the pandemic and it now has a dedicated national policy and inspection team focusing on the sector as part of its newly established Occupational Health Division. The HSA continues to prioritise the health sector and is carrying out a mix of pro-active and reactive inspections across the sector as well as providing health sector specific information and guidance and e-learning programmes on managing occupational health and safety in healthcare settings.