Sinn Féin spokesperson on Communications, Climate Action and the Environment David Cullinane TD has said that the lack of Health and Safety Authority inspectors is a matter of grave concern.
He has questioned why there has been no clarity on the number of additional inspectors that have been alluded to this week.
“The Health and Safety Authority have been given a huge task to monitor and enforce compliance with public health advice in the workplace. This is a massive task, on top of their usual workload.
“There has been much made of the outbreaks of Covid-19 in meat factories, with numerous clusters and over 800 workers in plants affected by Covid-19.
“This is a very worrying time for workers and their families. As more and more businesses open up, we need to make sure that standards are being met and that guidelines are being followed. To do that we need a proper workplace inspection regime in place.
“It was revealed early in the week that the HSA has just 67 field inspectors to engage in this work. I and others have made it clear that this number needs to be significantly increased for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“On Tuesday, the Fine Gael representative with whom I was debating on Prime Time on RTÉ said that there would be ‘hundreds of additional inspectors’ coming on board in the coming days.
“It is now the weekend, and there has been no clarity on this matter. This is not good enough, and is in fact very worrying. The government needs to come clean on its plans.
“The vast majority of employers will do their utmost to ensure the safety of workers, but it is imperative that the HSA has the means to ensure proper enforcement so that that workers are protected as they return to their place of work.”