Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has said the health and safety of workers and limiting the spread of Coronavirus must be prioritised.
The party’s Economy spokesperson was speaking after writing to the Economy Minister asking her to ensure businesses will be held to account and the Coronavirus regulations will be enforced.
Caoimhe Archibald said:
“It was concerning to hear that despite the regulations on the Coronavirus bill which make the guidance enforceable coming into effect on Saturday night, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has stated it will not be carrying out inspections of premises.
“Over the past number of days and weeks, party colleagues and I have been contacted by many workers concerned about social distancing measures not being properly implemented about the lack of appropriate PPE and sanitation in their workplaces.
“The HSE and Public Health Agency needs to engage with businesses to ensure they are aware of the guidance and their responsibilities and obligations. This must include inspection of premises.
“They also need to hold businesses to account and enforce the regulations where necessary. Non-compliance during this crisis should not be an option for unscrupulous employers.
“The Economy Minister must therefore ensure there is clear communication to businesses. She needs to ensure that the health and safety of workers is the main priority for all agencies with responsibilities regarding the regulations, including the HSE.
“Limiting the spread of Coronavirus and limiting the pressure on our health services is our number one priority and the aim of the regulations put in place.”