July 23, 2020
Government Return to Work Safely Protocol a farce as only 67 HSA inspectors to cover 271,000 businesses – Louise O’Reilly TD

Louise OR' ReillySinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Louise O’Reilly TD has called the government’s Covid-19 Return to Work Safely Protocol a farce.

Data Deputy O’Reilly received via a Parliamentary Question showed that there are only 67 Health and Safety Authority inspectors available to carry out protocol-related inspections.

Teachta O’Reilly said: “The Return to Work Safely Protocol was designed to support employers and protect workers as they returned to work as we moved through the roadmap to reopening society and the economy.

“The protocol was developed following high level dialogue between government, trade union and employer representatives on the best way to ensure the spread of Covid-19 was prevented and workers kept safe as the economy opens up.

“The protocol has excellent information and safety recommendations, and the HSA was tasked with carrying out Return to Work Safely Protocol inspections.

“The role of the HSA, the body responsible for enforcing health and safety law, promoting accident prevention, and providing information and advice, is essential to ensure workers are kept safe and the protocol is adhered to.

“Frustratingly, the HSA have not been given sufficient resources to increase the number of dedicated inspectors they have to carry out protocol related inspections.

“Parliamentary Question data I have received from the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment has revealed that the HSA have only 67 inspectors to cover almost 271,000 businesses across the state.

“The situation is a farce and makes a mockery of the protocol, putting workers and public health at risk.

“Tens of thousands of people responded to the ‘Be on Call for Ireland’ campaign, yet only a handful were given jobs.

“I am sure within those thousands of applications there were a number of people who have health and safety qualifications who could be employed to carry out inspections.”

Louise OR' Reilly

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