Sinn Féin spokesperson on workers’ rights Maurice Quinlivan TD today raised the need for additional powers and funding for the Health and Safety Authority, in order for them to effectively police the back to work health guidelines relating to Covid-19.
Speaking today, Deputy Quinlivan said;
“This week in the Dáil, I raised the issue of the need for additional powers and funding for the HSA with the Minister for Business, Heather Humphreys TD.
“The Health and Safety Authority have been given a huge task to monitor and enforce compliance with the public health advice, for employees returning to their place of work.
“It’s essential this agency is provided with extra funding, as this is an enormous task on top of their usual workload.
“The latest figures we have, show that in 2019, the Health and Safety Authority had 104 full-time equivalent staff employed in the inspector grades who work across all sectors in the economy.
“This is going to need to be significantly increased, given their additional responsibilities now during the Covid-19 pandemic, and clarity on extra funding is needed.
“I also questioned Minister Humphreys on whether she is satisfied the HSA has strong enough enforcement powers for those businesses who cut corners and do not comply with safety guidelines.
“Strong powers are needed, not just to enforce the regulations, but also as a deterrent to those thinking of cutting corners.
“In the vast majority of cases these powers will not be required, as employers will do their utmost to ensure the safety of workers.
“It is imperative workers are protected as they return to their place of work, and the HSA can’t be toothless when it comes to enforcement.”