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Tuesday, 23 Nov 2004

Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Bill 2004: Committee Stage.

I welcome the Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Deputy Killeen, who has responsibility for labour affairs, and his officials. It is proposed that we consider the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Bill 2004 until 5 p.m. and resume at 9.30 a.m. tomorrow, if necessary. Is that agreed? Agreed.

Amendments Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive, and 84, 85 and 158 have been grouped.

I object. I have just received the list of grouped amendments. As I have had an opportunity to examine only the first group, I can give an opinion on it alone. I do not see a relationship between amendments Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive. However, it would be appropriate to group together amendments Nos. 1, 85 and 158 as they are related. Amendment No. 158 refers to the Title as Gaeilge, while amendment No. 85 contains a reference thereto. However, amendments Nos. 2 and 4 are unrelated as they propose to repeal legislation enacted in Victorian times. I propose we discuss amendments Nos. 1, 85 and 158 together and all others seriatim.

I second that proposal.

Is that agreed? Agreed.


I move amendment No. 1:

In page 7, subsection (1), line 31, to delete "Safety, Health and Welfare" and substitute "Health and Safety".

The amendment proposes to retitle the Bill to have regard to the renaming in the legislation of the National Authority for Occupational Health and Safety which after the enactment of the legislation will be known as the Health and Safety Authority. If the authority will henceforth be known as the Health and Safety Authority, the legislation, when enacted, should be entitled the Health and Safety at Work Act. The amendment would tidy up the titles of the authority and the Bill.

While I understand the Deputy's point, there are good reasons for including the word "Welfare" in the Title. The Deputy made an interesting point regarding the Health and Safety Authority. However, its correct title is the National Authority for Occupational Health and Safety.

The Bill proposes to change its title.

The authority has become known in common parlance as the Health and Safety Authority, despite the fact that its title in the original Bill was substantially different. The argument with regard to the inclusion of the word "Welfare" in the Title is strong in that many regulations, particularly the Safety, Health and Welfare (General Application) Regulations 1993, include welfare provisions. Among the welfare facilities covered are the provision, where appropriate, of rest rooms, sanitary equipment, changing rooms, showers and so on. In this regard, the welfare element is sufficiently important to warrant its inclusion in the Title, notwithstanding the fact that we all recognise, as the Deputy noted, that the authority will continue to be regarded as the Health and Safety Authority in common parlance.

Is the amendment withdrawn?

The Chairman is clearly anxious to get through the amendments expeditiously. We will facilitate him. A colleague of mine, a member of a local authority, exclaims "Agreed" in the middle of every speech.

Notwithstanding the more esoteric point made by the Minister of State that welfare is an important concept per se, using the same name for the authority and the legislation would be neater and ensure people would know what they were talking about. As the Minister of State correctly noted, the National Authority for Occupational Health and Safety is a more encompassing name. However, it is seldom used. We should as far as possible attune ourselves to the needs of people by using clear language. It is important that those seeking to reference legislation know to what they are referring. People often use search engines on the Internet and are more likely to type in the phrase “health and safety at work” than the phrase “safety, health and welfare at work”, a more cumbersome title that does not relate directly to the name the Bill gives to the new authority.

If the Minister of State is so wedded to the notion of "welfare", it is odd that he did not insert it in the name of the authority. While I do not propose to call a division on the amendment, I am not convinced by the Minister of State's argument.

As I acknowledged, I understand the Deputy's point but I am concerned that if I were to agree to delete the word "welfare", the import of the Bill, particularly as regards what we are trying to convey in its provisions, could be diminished. Apart from the argument I outlined, this is the principal reason for opposing the amendment.

The Deputy's point is valid and should be considered with regard to future legislation, particularly given that we are computer friendly and live in a technological age.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn

I move amendment No. 2:

In page 7, between lines 32 and 33, to insert the following subsection:

"(2) Pending the repeal of the existing enactments, those enactments and this Act may be cited together as the Health and Safety at Work Acts 1882 to 2004.".

As the Chairman will have noted, this amendment is distinct from amendment No. 1. It proposes to insert a new subsection. The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 1989 which Members regarded as milestone legislation set out the health and safety regime to be followed thereafter. When this legislation was enacted, it purported to repeal all previous health and safety legislation dating back to 1882. However, its repealing sections were never brought into operation. Consequently, the old legislation dating from the Victorian era is still notionally on the Statute Book and in force.

We are all familiar with the notion that commencement orders for the component parts of legislation take time to take effect after the enactment of legislation. This Bill repeats what some would describe as a farce by listing again the legislation to be repealed in the Schedule. It is odd that, despite the proposal in the legislation to repeal preceding legislation — for a second time — there is no guarantee it will ever be repealed. The amendment is designed to highlight the undesirability of retaining the old Victorian legislation in force as this was not the intention of the Oireachtas when it passed the 1989 Act. I await an early decision of the Minister of State to bring the 1989 Act fully into force before the saga is repeated with the Bill before us.

I am no more anxious than the Deputy to hold on to the Boiler Explosions Act of 1882 or the other legislation listed. The intention of the Bill, as was the case with the previous legislation, is to introduce a single Act to replace all preceding legislation on this matter. It will be necessary to replace the Acts listed by regulation and it is intended to do so in the framework of this Bill. Another amendment tabled by the Deputy seeks to do this in a short timeframe. While I do not believe it will be possible to achieve this objective in the timeframe specified, it is intended to replace the legislation in question. I am concerned that in accepting the amendment the Oireachtas would accept that there was no serious intention to make this legislation a single primary Act. The review of the older Acts is under way. It should have been completed long ago but it is intended to complete it. Accepting this amendment would be unhelpful because it would imply an acceptance that this would not be done.

The tabling of this amendment is a device. I do not want all those enactments formally recognised in a new Act. I thought the Minister of State might present a compelling reason why there has been no adherence to the intention of the Oireachtas in the 1989 Act, why five years was not time enough, and why he still feels he needs a broad timeframe to bring in an order to do that which his Department believed should and could be done when it brought the original Act through the House in 1989.

I would like to be in a position to introduce the regulations immediately on the passing of the Bill, and that probably will be possible for some of the more straightforward ones. Two or three of them are relatively complex and will require replacement by regulations that will take a considerable time to prepare. The manpower was not available to do them but it is intended to do them.

The Minister of State's last comment is somewhat alarming. There is tension between line Departments in the Oireachtas but the Oireachtas makes legislation. The Executive sometimes thinks it has the sole prerogative to make legislation for us to rubber stamp. However, once we pass a Bill there is more than a notion that this might be the law of the land. The Oireachtas, at least technically, should make the law and it is not good enough that five years after we enact a Bill, which is passed by the other House and signed by the President, we are told that the manpower was not there to realise it. On the principle that the new broom sweeps clean, no doubt the Minister of State will agree with that.

I hoped there was a more compelling reason than lack of manpower not to do what the Oireachtas intended. That is not the most important part of this Bill but what applies to the least applies to the greatest, and if it is within the compass of the bureaucracy or the Executive to say it does not have the manpower to do that bit, notwithstanding the views of the Oireachtas, we have a problem.

The judgment was made about the 1989 Act that several provisions of the previous legislation needed to be repealed and replaced by regulation. That was done for the principal ones. There may have been a view that the Boiler Explosions Acts might not have been the most central to advancing matters. I accept the Deputy's general point that what is intended ought to be delivered. The best I can do in that regard is to undertake, when I am being interrogated by committee, to report on progress at some future meeting.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 3:

In page 8, subsection (2), line 2, after "enactments" to insert the following:

"provided that section 4(2) shall be fully brought into operation within twelve months from the date of passing of this Act”.

This is the same issue, to highlight the need to repeal existing old legislation within a quantifiable timeframe and 12 months does not seem to be unrealistic or present an undue burden. I hope the Minister of State will accept that.

I cannot accept the timeframe but repeat the undertaking I have just given to report back to the committee within a reasonable time on progress made.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 1 agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 4, 14, 23, 37 and 60 are related and may be discussed together by agreement.

I agree with Deputy Howlin's view on his original point. I do not know what amendment No. 23 has to do with the others.

Does the Deputy wish to leave it out of the group?

I do not see what relevance it has there.

It is very hard for us to make calls on these groupings because we have just received them so to go through and find them——

Does the Deputy wish to exclude amendment No. 37? The Chair will be as helpful as members wish.

It may be all right to discuss amendments Nos. 4 and 14 together but I do not see how amendments Nos. 23, 37 and 60 are relevant to amendments Nos. 4 and 14.

They are different.

They are different and should be treated differently.

Does the Minister of State agree?

Amendments Nos. 23, 37 and 60——

They could be discussed separately but we can discuss amendments Nos. 4 and 14 together.

Is it agreed to discuss amendments Nos. 4 and 14 together? Agreed.

I move amendment No. 4:

In page 8, subsection (1), line 33, to delete "subsection (2)” and substitute “section 3”.

This is a technical amendment in the event of amendment No. 14 being accepted but the focus of the amendment is on section 2(2) which effectively defines a competent person. I am unhappy with this for two reasons: first, setting down the criteria as to who is a competent person is a substantive issue and should perhaps have been in the main body of the Bill rather than just in the fashion prescribed. Second and more important, the delimiting of the competent person term in this way severely restricts the discretion of an employer. An employer might have to choose between a 23 year old with one year's experience who complies with section 2(2) and has all the qualifications, and on the other hand, a 52 year old with a wealth of experience but few qualifications. The legislation effectively tells an employer to choose the 23 year old because he or she has the relevant qualifications.

That imposes a burden in the interpretation of human resources on the employer, which should be left to the employer, rather than be prescribed in law. It could lead to a trade dispute which, at its simplest, we are trying to avoid. If employers are to carry the major responsibility under this legislation it should be they alone and not the legislature who decide who is the prescribed, qualified, competent person. It oversteps the mark and over-regulates an employer unnecessarily to prescribe in legislation the definition of competent person.

The definition of competent person has created some difficulty in the past. The provisions of the Bill reflect provisions already contained in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Regulations 2003 but also, and more important in this context, the wording as presented in the Bill is in line with the requirements of the EU Framework Directive 89/391. There has been considerable contact between the Commission, the Parliamentary Counsel and the Department about what is acceptable in this regard. The wording in the Bill has been agreed following a significant level of contact and work at EU level. To accept Deputy Hogan's proposal here would create difficulties in regard to the framework directive. It simply would not meet the requirement.

Possibly this is one reason we hear so many complaints about being over-regulated and that we are perhaps trying to solve many problems with a sledge rather than a hammer. The European Union is sometimes blamed for these things but the Minister of State and his officials are involved in negotiating these issues with their EU counterparts. This Commission directive and diktat on the definition of a competent person being prescribed in the legislation goes too far. I am not sure what would happen to the Minister of State if he were to accept my amendment in the context of its consequences in respect of the European Commission. It would not be a shattering bolt out of the blue with serious consequences for Europe-wide labour policy but it has implications for Irish industry and employers, particularly small business people.

There is what is known as a reasoned opinion on EU framework directive 89/391 in regard to this. Proceedings have been initiated at the European Court of Justice and it would not be defensible if we were to accept the amendment. I do not have a choice in this matter.

I do not agree with the reasoned opinion. I would like to further reflect on this amendment on Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendments Nos. 5 and 36 are related and may be discussed together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 5:

In page 8, subsection (1), between lines 41 and 42, to insert the following:

"‘construction work' means the carrying out of any building, civil engineering or engineering construction work, as may be prescribed;".

Amendments Nos. 5 and 36 arise from representations made to the committee and to me by the four organisations which were here last week. Section 17(3) was causing difficulty and in light of the representations made since publication, we accept that it is not appropriate to place a duty on persons who construct a place at work to ensure that it can be maintained safely and without a risk to health. It is in the context of the representations made, that we have had this alternate section drafted. It arises in section 2, but more substantially in amendment No. 36, before section 17. It deals with the concerns which were expressed in that regard.

Is amendment No. 36 a whole new section on top of the existing section?

Amendment No. 5 in section 2 is separate, but amendment No. 36 arises from that and it is related to it. Acceptance of amendment No. 36 involves the deletion of section 17.

It is, therefore, an alternative section.

It is an effective replacement of section 17.

Before section 17, it states: "to insert the following new section".

At the bottom of the page, it states: "Acceptance of this amendment involves the deletion of section 17 of the Bill."

I did not see the small print. I need glasses for that.

Very reasonable points were made on the way this was drafted and we have accepted them.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 6 to 8, inclusive, and amendment No. 15 are related and may be discussed together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 6:

In page 8, subsection (1), lines 42 and 43 and in page 9, lines 1 to 8, to delete all words from and including "means-" in line 42 down to and including "whether" in line 8 and substitute the following:

"means a contract of employment or service or apprenticeship, whether".

The same situation applies to these amendments, although they are slightly different. They arise from representations made to the committee and to each of us. There were concerns that there was a need for clarification on employment agencies which supply workers to employers. The previous drafting left it open to the interpretation that they would be expected to carry responsibility in situations involving safety and health of workers over which they had no control. That is addressed in these amendments.

Are we talking about recruitment agencies?

Yes. That point was made very strongly here at the committee. As previously drafted, the Bill was open to the interpretation that employment agencies that supply workers to employers would have responsibility in situations involving the safety and health of workers over which they had no control. These amendments clarify that it is the direct employer who has responsibility.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 7:

In page 9, subsection (1), lines 35 to 40, to delete all words from and including "subject" in line 35 down to and including "employer," in line 40.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 8:

In page 9, line 43, before "where" to insert "includes".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 9:

In page 9, between lines 44 and 45, to insert the following:

"‘enactment' includes any instrument made under an enactment;".

This is a technical amendment which means that an enactment includes any instrument made under the enactment, which was not clear previously.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 10 and amendments Nos, 56 to 58, inclusive, are related and may be discussed together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 10:

In page 10, to delete lines 21 to 26 and substitute "‘joint safety and health agreement' shall be read in accordance with section 24;”.

These are technical amendments and they ensure consistency in the terminology used in section 24 to refer to joint safety and health agreements. There was some confusion about the terminology previously presented.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 11, 13, 29, 62 to 83, inclusive, 104 and 118 are related and may be discussed together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 11:

In page 10, line 33, after "section 27” to insert “and cognate words shall be read accordingly”.

The amendments in my name and in the names of other Deputies refer to provisions under which employees can process complaints against employers. The amendments in my name substitute the Labour Court for the Employment Appeals Tribunal as the appeals body for decisions of rights commissioners. That point was made quite strongly by some of the bodies. In proposing the amendments, I have taken account of those representations. We are all hopeful that the involvement of the Labour Court will provide for flexibility in settling complaints. One of the concerns was that the tribunal would effectively be adjudicating on complaints by people whose employment had been terminated. This leaves it open for people to have their complaint processed while they remain in the employment of the employer. That is very important.

I agree with that. My amendment tries to achieve the same end. The representatives of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions made a strong point to us, both directly and in writing. The Labour Court is best placed to deal with disputes where the employment relationship of the parties is maintained, as opposed to the Employment Appeals Tribunal, where the employment relationship is sundered. I welcome the Minister of State's amendment.

My amendment in the group is amendment No. 62. The definition of penalisation in subsections (1) and (2) are extremely broad. An employee who makes a complaint about health and safety becomes clothed in the protection of section 27. A more realistic response to a complaint about health and safety would see the employer take some remedial action. It could also involve assigning the employee to a different area of responsibility. Due to the way the section is drafted, moving or re-assigning an employee to another responsibility would constitute penalisation by the employer. Can a balance be struck between protecting the employee on the one hand and allowing the employer to make genuine efforts to remedy the problem? The section seems to completely tie the hands of the employer. My amendment proposes the deletion of subsection (1) and the amendment of subsection (2) so that its current contents are used to define "penalisation". That would give more flexibility to those addressing a health and safety problem.

Three slightly different matters are at issue here. The involvement of the Labour Court addresses a major part of Deputy Hogan's concerns about the necessary flexibility. We do not want to weaken the existing legislative provisions relating to penalisation. We also need to be careful not to affect other Acts. The Deputy's amendment seems to leave open to the interpretation the possibility that an employee could be penalised for commercial reasons. We need to ensure that the Bill relates only to health and safety matters. This process comes into play when agreement is not reached. There will be agreement in some instances, but the provisions of my amendments will ensure that when agreement is not reached, the matter is dealt with by the Labour Court rather than the Employment Appeals Tribunal. On balance, the concerns of Deputies Hogan and Howlin have been addressed in my amendments, which reflect the concerns which have been expressed by the Deputies.

Will the Minister of State amplify so that we will understand his amendments more fully?

The amendments put in place provisions in cases in which agreement is not reached between the employer and the employee. Before now, the likeliest outcome in such circumstances would have been that the employee's employment would have been terminated and the matter would have been dealt with by the Employment Appeals Tribunal. If the amendments are accepted, a process will be available to ensure that such cases can be dealt with by the Labour Court. I am confident that the process will ensure that the rights of employees will be taken care of. I do not believe that employers will be penalised in the circumstances I have mentioned.

The Opposition amendments were proposed to ensure that employers who are trying to ensure, for genuine reasons, that their employees are operating in a safe working environment will not be hamstrung by any mechanism in the legislation. We are trying to ensure that employers who decide to move employees to another place of work for such a purpose will not be penalised for doing so. It is a practical matter which should not be the subject of a case at the Employment Appeals Tribunal and should certainly never go to the Labour Court. Common sense may not always prevail because of the definition in this section of the Bill and, consequently, vexatious cases may be brought to the Labour Court. The original intentions of employers may be misconstrued as a result of the definition to which I have referred.

I do not wish to address this amendment directly, but to raise a related issue.

I will allow the Minister of State to respond to Deputy Hogan before allowing Deputy Morgan to make his point.

I should have made clear in my last response that the rights commissioner comes into play before the Labour Court does. It is likely that the hypothetical case mentioned by Deputy Hogan would be resolved at that level. Cases proceed to the Labour Court when they are not resolved at that level. There is concern that employers may make impossible demands on employees. I am concerned that if we accept amendment No. 66, we will make an error that could lead to such difficulties. That would undermine the intention of the Bill.

I appreciate the Minister of State's clarification. I was not sure what attitude I should take to the amendment. I would like to speak about the requirement, under section 9, for an employer to give a copy of its safety statement to its employees. Section 9(1)(a) states that the information should be given in a form, manner and——

Is the Deputy speaking on section 2? We are on section 2 at present.

Is amendment No. 62 not one of the amendments before the committee? I am speaking about amendment No. 62, which proposes to amend section 9.

Section 9 states that the safety statement should be "given" to employees. What does "given" mean? I do not envisage that every employer will give his or her employees a large tome containing such a statement. I am not sure it will work out like that. When a safety statement is "given" to a new employee on his or her first day of employment, it should be explained to him or her by a representative of the employer. Such a provision would meet the terms of section 9. However, I am concerned that the safety statement may not be available to an employee if he or she wishes to address or examine it at a later date. I need to scrutinise this section of the Bill a little further in terms of tying down a specific amendment. I have raised the matter, so I will be able to revisit it.

Is the Deputy asking whether there is an onus on the employer to provide the statement, rather than on the employee to seek it?

That the statement should be available to employees is a key element of this section.

I understand the point being made by Deputy Morgan. It is dealt with to some extent in section 9 and is amplified in section 20, which specifies the right of an employee to have access to a safety statement.

We will come to section 20 later if the Deputy wants to examine the matter further.

We are reasonably happy with the provisions in this regard.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 12, 26, 86, 115, 153 and 154 are related and may be discussed together by agreement.

It is difficult to cross-reference the amendments when we have just been given a copy of them. Can I ask that we deal with them as proposed, but that we can be allowed to deal with points we have not covered when we address the section?

Yes. In view of the committee's late receipt of the amendments, I will have no difficulty with facilitating members who may wish to revisit certain matters when we consider the sections which have been amended. I thank members for their co-operation.

I move amendment No. 12:

In page 10, line 35, after "disability" to insert ", occupational illness".

I am not sure that my list of grouped amendments is the same as that mentioned by the Chairman, but I hope it is.

The committee has agreed to consider amendments Nos. 12, 26, 86, 115, 153 and 154 together.

Amendment No. 26 proposes to replace "notified" with "reported", a change which was suggested on Second Stage. Amendment No. 86 proposes to replace "injury to health" with "personal injury". Amendment No. 115 proposes to replace "illness, disease" with "personal injury". Amendment No. 153 proposes to replace "notification" with "reporting". Amendment No. 154 proposes to replace "diseases" with "personal injuries". All the amendments are being proposed for the same reason — to make more explicit the concern about identifying and quantifying occupational injuries and illnesses in the workplace so that better prevention strategies can be put in place as data is generated to reduce the toll of occupational illnesses in Irish workplaces. Occupational illnesses, such as occupational asthma, occupational dermatitis and illnesses resulting from stress in the workplace, are clearly recognised. We do not have precise data under existing laws, however. While there are statistics on accidents and personal injuries, there is an absence of statistical data on occupational illnesses. We are trying to create a framework in which future work in that area can be created.

I am struggling to keep up with the Minister of State. One of the amendments which has been proposed to Schedule 7 relates to "notification". What is the difference between "notification" and "reporting"? What exactly is meant there?

This issue was raised by two of the groups which spoke to us. They stressed the importance of having the same terminology in the first instance. I have forgotten which is which.

Amendment No. 153 will delete "notification" and add "reporting" in its place. What is the difference?

That is being done to give more clarity. The decision to include the word "reporting" relates to the onus to have it recorded. It was felt that "reported" was preferable, and it also appears in section 8(2)(k) and elsewhere. Previously, we had both “reported” and “notified”. Either is adequate, but I propose “reported” in place of “notified”. The former is now used everywhere.

Does "reported" require a written report in a way that "notified", which may simply mean bringing a matter to someone's attention, does not?

It is considered a little broader, and the implication is that it would be a written report on a specified form.

I am not sure that I understand what we are doing here. We are dealing with the regulations, which are complicated but important. In the Bill circulated, we have the word "notification". Requirements are to be imposed regarding the notification and prescribed manner of such matters relating to the safety, health or welfare of persons at work as may be prescribed. The word "notification" is to be changed to "reporting".

Yes. That is in page 92, line 46. It is also in section 9 on page 18.

I am still not clear what is the intent of the change of word. Is it to make it more difficult?

There are two effects. First, if we substitute "notify" with "reported" here, the latter will be the term used throughout the Bill, including section 8(2).

Very good.

Second, there is provision for reporting on a standard form.

Where is that?

The member wishes clarification on the terms and the word "reporting".

That is not in the Bill but in the 1993 regulations. There is a reference to formal reporting. It was felt, if "notifying" and "notified" were left in those two places, that formal reporting might be taken to be a different process.

Perhaps the Minister of State might send us a note on the regulations so that we can see where the terms are used.

That should be done before the next Stage.

If it is notification in the prescribed manner, surely all one needs is a written notification or report — whatever one wishes to call it. I therefore find it difficult to see any difference.

We will have received clarification by the next stage. Are Deputies agreed? Agreed.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 13:

In page 12, to delete line 23.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 14 not moved.

I move amendment No. 15:

In page 13, subsection (4), lines 34 to 40, to delete all words from and including "then—" in line 34 down to and including "person" in line 40 and substitute the following:

"then the latter person shall be deemed to be the individual's employer for the purposes of the relevant statutory provisions".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 16:

In page 14, subsection (8), line 11, to delete "of this Act".

What does it mean?

It is superfluous according to the advice of the legal draftsman.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 2, as amended, agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 17 and 18 are related and may be discussed together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 17:

In page 15, subsection (1)(e), line 15, after “section)” to insert the following:

"and provided that there is a facility to confirm receipt of electronic mail and that such receipt has been confirmed".

Effectively, the amendments accepts——

It might have been easier to replicate exactly the amendment that I tabled.

This is how it came back from the Parliamentary Counsel, but its intent is the same as that of Deputy Howlin's amendment.

I read it a few times to see the difference between my formulation and that of the Minister of State and accepted the cynical notion that if there is a good amendment from this side of the House, the Government must find some reason to find a similar one so that it cannot come from us. I welcome the Minister of State's amendment. I lifted my own amendment from the State Airports Act 2004.

Electronic mail is used to serve legal documents, an extremely important issue. Without this amendment, the serving of legal documents electronically would be binding. I cannot speak for the other members, but I would be rather concerned if I were legally required to read my mail every day in case I missed the serving of a legal document on me that would have the force of law. All those firewalls that we are building around us might obstruct the serving of such documents, so it is important that we have legal terminology that ensures we are not exposed to any hazard regarding such documents.

I cannot see any difficulty in accepting the Minister of State's amendment rather than my own. The important net point is agreed, and I hope that it will now resonate throughout other drafting offices in Departments. There is an enthusiasm for e-government and a desire that we all embrace electronic mail, and that is all well and good to a point, but we can lose the run of ourselves if we forget to draw in the horses a little and ensure that people get the documentation that is properly served on them. Otherwise there would be difficulties.

When I saw the amendment, I was minded to accept it but sought the advice of the Parliamentary Counsel, and this is the wording that came back. I would have accepted it as it stood.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 18 not moved.
Section 3, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 4 and 5 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 19:

In page 16, subsection (2), line 8, to delete "except" and substitute "in the following areas but subject to the operational requirements of the Defence Forces".

I raised this on Second Stage. The amendment is to delete "except" and substitute "in the following areas but subject to the operational requirements of the Defence Forces". As I said during the debate, the amendment's purpose is to modify what is now a blanket exception for the Defence Forces regarding safety legislation. There are operational reasons why we must qualify it, but in the light of experience with such matters as Army deafness, we should not see the Army as exempt from the normal requirements of safety at work. We should include it unless there is a compelling reason to exclude it. It would be better to apply the Act generally but to provide for exceptions where operational matters require them.

I believe that it would be accepted by the military and society at large. It is an important point. Since this legislation comes from a Department charged with protecting workers, whatever their occupation, I hope that a different approach will be taken, namely, that health and safety obligations apply to all but that there are circumstances where exceptions might be tailor-made.

The amendment as proposed would create two difficulties. On the one hand, it is less restrictive than the 1989 Act applying to the Defence Forces when they are not on active service. It appears that having the Bill apply also when the Defence Forces are on active service but subject to their operational requirements would conflict with the Defence Acts, as they apply to responses required of members of the Defence Forces on active service. It appears to weaken the provision when the Army is not on active service. While I understand the intent of Deputy Howlin's amendment, it would, on first examination, have the opposite effect to that intended..

I do not understand that.

The Deputy's amendment is less restrictive and less health and safety-oriented than the provisions of the 1989 Act relating to when the Defence Forces are not on active service. In other words, when they are not on active service, the Deputy's amendment would make the provisions less stringent, which is contrary to his intention, and they would apply to members on active service and subject only to the operational requirements of the Defence Forces, which would be in conflict with the Defence Acts, according to the Parliamentary Counsel. The exclusion in the section is compatible with those permitted under the EU framework directive.

Section 6(2)(a) states these provisions apply to members of the Defence Forces except where they are “on active service within the meaning of section 5 of the Defence Act 1954 or deemed to be on active service within the meaning of section 4(1) of the Defence Amendment (No. 2) Act 1960,”. What does that cover?

The provisions of the 1989 Act relating to the Defence Forces are being adopted in this legislation. When members of the Defence Forces are not on active service, the provisions will apply. However, if the legislation is amended in the manner proposed by the Deputy, the health and safety element will have less force when they are not on active service.

Should my amendment be accepted the subsection would state: "Subject to section 11, the relevant statutory provisions apply to members of the Defence Forces in the following areas but subject to the operational requirements of the Defence Forces”. It currently states they will apply expect where they are “on active service within the meaning of section 5 of the Defence Act 1954 or deemed to be on active service within the meaning of section 4(1) of the Defence Amendment (No. 2) Act 1960,”. I have not had an opportunity to read section 5 of the Defence Act 1954 or section 4(1) of the Defence Amendment (No. 2) Act 1960. What do they encompass?

The provisions of section 6(2)(a) are specific. Their effect is to repeat the provisions of the 1989 Act.

Does the Minister of State have a copy of the Defence Act 1954? Could he read the relevant section?

Could the Minister of State come back on Report Stage to clarify this issue?

If the Deputy wishes to raise this issue on Report Stage, I will have a copy of the section.

I only want to establish what they contain. I should have read them before the meeting.

Whatever chance the Deputy has of having an amendment accepted now, he will have none on Report Stage.

I fully accept the Minister of State's explanation of these provisions. Is he saying the health and safety regulations apply except when the Army is on active service?

If that is the case, I will accept what he says.

That has been the effect of the 1989 Act and it is being repeated in this legislation.

That is not my advice.

Will the Minister of State provide a copy of the sections to the Deputy and all other members of the committee?

Yes. The provisions are also repeated in the 1993 regulations, copies of which will also be provided.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 6 agreed to.
Section 7 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 20:

In page 16, before section 8, but in Part 1, to insert the following new section:

8.—(1) Within 6 months of the commencement of this Act, the Minister shall commission the publication of a regulatory impact assessment of the impact which this Act is having on business.

(2) When conducting a regulatory impact assessment under subsection (1), particular regard shall be paid to the impacts which this Act has on small businesses.”.

Approximately a year ago, the Government published a White Paper on regulation, entitled Regulating Better, in which it advocated the use of regulatory impact assessments. I seek the inclusion of a new section to establish how genuine the Government is about doing so. The legislation impacts on businesses financially, notwithstanding its laudable objectives in regard to the health, safety and welfare of employees. A balance must be struck and, therefore, within six months of the enactment of the legislation, I would like to ascertain the cost implications and the impact of the legislation on both employers and employees. I seek to insert a new section to force the Government to do so because there is no evidence of it implementing its own policy since it was launched. If the Government is to heed its own advice, the Minister of State will have no difficulty accepting the amendment.

The amendment refers to regulatory impact or, more correctly, the competitiveness impact of the legislation. I agree with the sentiments expressed by Deputy Hogan. However, it is not appropriate to include such a provision in the legislation. Arising from previous comments he made and submissions made on the legislation, I had informal discussions with departmental officials and I am examining the possibility of the Department or Forfás carrying out an assessment along the lines suggested by the Deputy on the impact on competitiveness of the legislation. The most conservative estimates put a cost of €1.6 billion on the time lost at work through injury and ill-health currently and it is, therefore, in everybody's interest that every effort should be made to ensure that is minimised.

There are two sides to the equation in that the cost can be reduced by improved health and safety regulation but that is a difficult balance to strike. However, I agree with the sentiment of the amendment and I am examining the means of carrying out such a study. I am not disposed to including its provision in the legislation.

Will the Minister of State table an amendment on Report Stage setting out what he has in mind? We may have a meeting on minds on the implementation of Government policy.

It is not appropriate to provide for such a study in the legislation. Such a competitiveness study should be undertaken separately from legislation.

When will the study be carried out?

I want to find out how much it will cost first.

The Minister of State is trying to find his feet in regard to this portfolio.

He is doing all right.

It is a good suggestion but time is a problem.

I do not consider the proposal appropriate to the legislation but a study should be carried out.

I agree with the sentiment of the amendment as long as regulatory assessments are not used to reduce the impact of the legislation on the welfare of employees. Such an assessment could prove beneficial in establishing what other measures may be needed to help small businesses draft their health and safety statements or to address gaps and failures. The concept of assessments is positive but I am concerned about what will happen following their publication. The assessments are essential in ascertaining costs, injuries and how businesses can move on.

The issue relates more to the competitiveness impact than the regulatory impact. I take Deputy Morgan's point that it might well be that lessons could be learned and even stronger regulation required. The findings of the studies will determine what will happen subsequently. A number of the State agencies may need to provide professional advice in this area to reduce the regulatory impact on small businesses.

The benefit lies there as much as in any other area.

Has a study been carried out by any Department with regard to implementing Government policy on Regulating Better? To the Minister of State's knowledge, has a regulatory impact statement been issued?

I could not list the competitive or regulatory impact statement studies which have been done. However, figures are floating around about costs in various areas, including this one where they are conservatively put at €1.6 billion at the lowest measurement.

Has any study been carried out of any aspect of Regulating Better, the Government White Paper on regulation, in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment since the policy was announced by the Taoiseach over one year ago? Has anything been done in terms of assessing the regulatory impact?

As the Deputy is aware, that is not my direct responsibility. However, there are studies under way in the competition area. I cannot name one but the findings will be published.

Have any been published?

There may well be.

The body of regulations impacting on large and small businesses is enormous. The Minister of State seems to have taken this on board and may look for ways to deal with it. The essence of this amendment is important. It is important we receive some report on the regulatory impact sooner rather than later.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I welcome Deputy Lynch. I also welcome back to the committee Mr. Richard Manley who has been the steering and guiding light of this committee for a long time.

Amendments Nos. 21, 22 and 152 are related and will be discussed together. Is that agreed? Agreed.

I move amendment No. 21:

In page 17, subsection (2) (d), lines 7 and 8, to delete “noise, vibration or ionising or other radiations” and substitute the following:

"other elements or activities likely to be detrimental to the safety, health or welfare of the employee".

Amendment No. 22 which is being proposed by the Minister of State will help in clarifying this matter. The section, as it stands, identifies issues such as noise, vibration or ionising or other radiations. This is a finite grouping of risks which does not take account of others that might arise. My amendment proposes to widen the scope of the section to include other risks.

Amendments Nos. 22 and 152 will have that effect. The term "physical agents" is not embraced by either "article" or "substance" as it includes such elements as noise, electromagnetic fields, vibrations and optical radiation. These four physical agents have been the subject of discussions leading to new directives at EU level in recent years. The last of these on optical radiation is likely to be finalised in Europe at the end of this year or early next year. The amendments encompass the Deputy's concerns.

I thank the Minister of State. In the context of telecommunications masts, what is the impact of the amendment on safety, health and welfare?

Is the Deputy including windmill masts?

Yes, windmill and telecommunications masts, often a bone of contention in communities.

Especially in the banner county.

This is one area where many reports have been commissioned, prepared and put before us. One would hardly venture to say they make interesting reading.

What will be the impact of the amendment with regard to electromagnetic fields and health and safety issues for people living or employed near such masts?

The amendment only applies to health and safety issues at work.

Does the Minister of State have a view he wants to express to the committee?

It is encompassed in the amendment.

I would be concerned about members of the Garda Síochána who have to work with a mast over the station.

I welcome the Minister of State's amendment. He has indicated that the term "physical agent" is broad. Will there be a definition anywhere in the Bill?

"Physical agent" is not embraced by either "article" or "substance". Its meaning will have to be spelled out in the regulations.

If we are to include an ambiguous new term such as this in the primary legislation, should we not define it?

The intention in including it is to encompass the areas mentioned by Deputy Hogan and any others that might be appropriate in terms of health and safety in the workplace.

We know what the intention is. However, are we going to define it in those terms?

That is the intention. We will receive considerable help from the European Union with regard to definitions.

Can we expect a Report Stage amendment to the definitions section to include "physical agent"?

It is not necessary to do so for general terms of this nature.

How can we enact legislation defining the sources of hazards without defining what they are?

In this case physical agents include such elements as noise and electromagnetic fields. They are considered to be included in the meaning of vibrations and optical radiation.

This issue is important on its own merits. It is also important that we define legislation as clearly as we can. Otherwise we leave it to the courts to make law. They will define "physical agent" for us. It sometimes suits Departments to leave it like this. It is the job of the Oireachtas to make law. However, it is not our job to make ambiguous laws that must be defined in detail by the courts, thereby making it their job not simply to interpret law but to make it.

This is a new challenge that will become more relevant as a result of new inventive technology. Will the Minister of State seek further clarification on before Report Stage?

I cannot tell the committee that there is a specific EU definition but I will check. We have been operating on the basis of EU developments and practice. Some of the concerns raised here have been raised by other communities. It may well be that some day somebody will prove in court that some of these physical agents cause ill effects. If that happens, it will be encompassed by the Bill. It would be a major deficiency if it was ignored.

Amendment, by leave withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 22:

In page 17, subsection (2) (d), line 8, after “radiations” to insert “or any other physical agent”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 23:

In page 17, subsection (2) (l), line 41, to delete “the obtaining, where necessary, of” and substitute “obtaining, where necessary,”.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 8, as amended, agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 24 and 25 are related and will be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 24:

In page 18, subsection (1)(a), line 11, to delete “employee” and substitute “employees”.

There are similarities between the amendments. Mine is a technical amendment. Deputy Hogan's amendment would alter the current text of the Bill which arises from a requirement in the EU framework directive on health and safety — 89/391 — with which we must comply. This provision has been in force since 1993 under regulation 11 of the safety, heath and welfare at work (general application) regulations of 1993.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 25:

In page 18, subsection (1), lines 13 to 23, to delete paragraph (b) and substitute the following:

"(b) includes the categories of information, dependent on the industry or sector, as prescribed by the Minister.”.

Amendment No. 24 in the name of the Minister has come some way towards meeting my intention. The requirement to give information under section 9 will impose an undue burden. While I recognise the motive behind the section, this section could impose an unreasonable burden on a large site or place of work where contractors and sub-contractors come and go. I hope the section can be modified to some degree. One way of doing this would be to prescribe by regulation the types or classes of information which should be made known to people whether or not they are on site. The regulations could provide different types of information to different classes of workplace and so provide greater flexibility. It would also recognise that different standards of risk apply in different types of workplace.

The Minister's amendment is a step in the right direction but I urge him to look at the suggestion I made in regard to posting different categories of information according to the sector of industry concerned. I do not think a 'one size fits all' approach will work. It would be inappropriate and would impose an undue burden on some employers, especially small employers. The Minister has power to make regulations under section 58 to do what I seek.

As I stated previously, the provisions which would be deleted by this amendment are already in place under section 9 (1) (b) and have already been in force under regulation 11 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 1993. The industry is already dealing with them. There are also specific requirements under Article 10 of the 1989 EU framework directive on health and safety. The proposal to replace these provisions with the formula suggested in the amendment would require a restatement of regulation on these provisions, in addition to significant detail for each industry or sector. Employers already have duties under sections 19 and 20 to identify hazards, risks and so on and to prepare safety statements. Considerable guidance is currently available from the health and safety authority to assist them in this.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 26:

In page 18, subsection (3)(b), line 34, to delete “notified” and substitute “reported”.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 9, as amended, agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 28 and 32 are related to No. 27 and they may be discussed together, by agreement.

I move amendment No. 27:

In page 19, subsection (1), line 18, to delete "section 25” and substitute “sections 25 and 26”.

Amendments Nos. 27 and 28 are largely technical drafting amendments. Both sections relate to safety representatives and consultation and participation of employees in safety committees. They contain references to training and it is appropriate to reflect both of them in the introductory part of section 10 (1). The insertion of supervision in section 10(1)(a) is a reflection of provisions already contained in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Applications) Regulations 1993.

Amendment No. 32 arises from representations made to the committee and directly to me with which I agree.

Regarding the grouping, amendment No. 32 stands by itself. The other two are technical amendments which we can agree on the nod. What specific representations did the Minister accept in regard to amendment No. 32?

The amendment states: "and, as appropriate, undergo such assessment".

What does that mean?

It provides that a test can be administered at the end of training. Section 13 provides that employees shall fulfil certain requirements while at work as specified in paragraphs (a) to (h).

Section 13 (f) specifies that employees shall “attend such training as may reasonably be required by his or her employer or as may be prescribed relating to safety, health and welfare at work or relating to the work carried out by an employee”.

"And as appropriate undergo such assessment".

Attend such training and undergo such assessment.

Does it not go just above that?

Reference is made to line 22, paragraph (f). Presumably it is the end of the current paragraph (f) but the line number refers to paragraph (g).

It should be (f).

That is what I would have thought.

It should be after the first three words in (f).

I would consider it more appropriate to (g). Should the reference to (f) not be to (g)?

No. It makes sense at (f) to state “attend such training and, as appropriate, undergo such assessment” and then continue “as may be reasonably...”

So the line reference is wrong.

That is where it should definitely be.

That should be line 13 then?

Yes. That is where it should be. It arose from a strong recommendation from NISO, one of the bodies which has both employer and employee representatives.

As I understand it, we are amending paragraph (f) line 13.

That is amendment No. 32. Amendments Nos. 27 and 28 are only drafting amendments.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 28:

In page 19, subsection (1)(a), line 21, to delete “and training is given” and substitute “, training and supervision is provided”.

As I understand it, the amendment would place no requirement on the take-up of training. I believe the measure is weakened by the fact that the amendment only refers to the provision of training and supervision. I flag this matter now but I will need to consider it more before suggesting an amendment.

The current wording is, "and training is given". The suggested alternative is to delete that and substitute "training and supervision is provided."

I consider "given" to be more positive than "training and supervision is provided."

Does the Minister suggest we put in "should"?

He is taking "given" out.

We are putting in instead, "training and supervision is provided."

Will the Minister of State look at the section and come back with amendments on Report Stage?

It is correct.

It is correct as it stands but it is weaker. The proposed amendment weakens the legislation regarding training. If training is given there is a requirement for people to attend training, whereas if it is provided, it could be just an option without any obligation on employees to take it up. "Shall" might be a stronger word. In any event I am prepared to move on for the time being.

The wording refers to instruction, training and supervision being provided. There is also reference to "language that is reasonably likely to be understood by the employee concerned", which was probably the more important part of the original provision in terms of non-national employees in certain employments.

Will the Minister of State further clarify that on the next Stage of the Bill? There appear to be good grounds for a re-examination of the provision.

Deputy Morgan's concern is whether the word "given" or "provided" is the stronger.

In my view, "given" is stronger.

The other point he made is that employees do not necessarily have to take up training. The provision relating to employees is dealt with in another section.

I do not think it makes a difference if the employer "gives" or "provides" training. It is the same thing. However, the Minister of State has included, "and supervision". In plain English, what is the difference between "giving" and "providing"?

Is the Minister of State providing for the supervision of the training, the assessor or the programme of training? What is he providing for?

It provides for instruction, training and supervision. It only makes sense when all the elements are included.

The Minister of State is taking training out.

I do not know whether "given" or "provided" is stronger. I do not know why "provided" was used rather than "given".

I assume the Minister of State will reflect further and revert to committee members on Report Stage. Is that agreed? Agreed.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 10, as amended, agreed to.

I move amendment No. 29:

In page 21, subsection (3), lines 12 to 17, to delete all words from and including "shall-" in line 12 down to and including "action." in line 17 and substitute the following:

"shall take action and give instructions to enable employees to either or both stop work and immediately leave the place of work and to proceed to a safe place.".

Section 11(3) states:

In the event of serious, imminent and unavoidable danger, an employer shall — (a) take action and give instructions to the employees to either or both stop work and immediately leave the place of work and to proceed to a safe place.

What is the difference between that and the Minister of State's proposal, namely, that the employer shall — "take action and give instructions to enable employees to either or both stop work and immediately leave the place of work and to proceed to a safe place"? The Minister proposes to substitute the current subsection (a) with this alternative. What is the difference?

We were advised that this was a more appropriate and tidier formula.

I do not see any difference between the two.

There is no change.

The existing provision states that the employer shall "take action and give instructions to employees to either or both stop work and immediately leave the place of work and proceed to a safe place.", whereas the proposed amendment states that employees shall be enabled to "either or both stop work and immediately leave the place of work and proceed to a safe place."

This amendment proposes the deletion of subsection (3)(b), which is repeated in a different part of the Bill.

Would it not be more appropriate to simply delete subsection (3)(b)?

It would certainly be clearer for members to read.

It would be much clearer for me too.

Are we certain that it is repeated elsewhere in the Bill?

I think we are.

Will the Chairman point out where? I do not like removing something without knowing the implications.

As far as I understand, it comprises a full section — it is a non-penalisation section.

I do not mind repetition where it serves a purpose. However, are we happy there cannot be penalisation from the other section? We will deal with the other section when we reach it.

If it is appropriate, we can revisit this issue when we come to the penalisation section.

If this is simply being deleted for reasons of repetition, it is better to leave it in because then there will be no doubt that someone who acts in accordance with this section is covered.

The appropriate reference is at the bottom of page 35, subsection (f).

Section 27(3)(f) states:

subject to subsection (6), in circumstances of danger which the employee reasonably believed to be serious and imminent and which he or she could not reasonably have been expected to avert, leaving (or proposing to leave) or, while the danger persisted, refused to return to his or her place of work or any dangerous part of his or her place of work, or taking (or proposing to take) appropriate steps to protect himself or herself or other persons from the danger.

On first reading, this does not seem to be quite the same as the provision it is proposed to delete.

The subsection continues.

In section 11, the onus is on the employer to cause people to be taken out of danger. However, the provision in section 27 covers the right of the employee to make a judgment call himself or herself.

The provisions continue in considerable detail in subsections (4), (5), (6) and (7).

Can we withdraw this amendment until Report Stage, unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise?

Yes. I will withdraw it until Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 11 agreed to.
Section 12 agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 30, 31, 33 and 34 are related. Amendment No. 31 is an alternative to amendment No. 30. Amendments Nos. 30, 31, 33 and 34 can be taken together by agreement. Is that agreed? Agreed.

I move amendment No. 30:

In page 22, lines 3 to 5, to delete paragraph (c).

This an important section which prompted a deputation to the committee from the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and strong submissions from SIPTU and ICTU in regard to the provision in section 13(c) which would allow a statutory right to all employers to drug test all employees. We discussed the issue after we listened to the submissions. In order to be absolutely safe, we all feel that we must make sure no one is in any way intoxicated or on medication, notwithstanding the fact that much prescription medication has an impact on a person’s competence. However, there are degrees to which this provision should be applied in the context of the civil liberties issues which were put to the committee clearly by the ICCL.

The provisions currently set in the draft Bill go too far. I have no objection to specific provisions for drug testing but rather question the manner in which it should be done. I was looking for a way in which to do it, in respect of which I have had preliminary discussions with the unions. It was agreed that it should be part of a collective negotiation between employers and employees in specific areas of industry or specific types of employment in which there is a requirement for the most stringent standards. This issue would be better left to local level agreement. Otherwise, I fear there would be a major intrusion into the employer-employee relationship.

I have listened to the public comments made by the Minister of State and I know he has taken a fairly rigid line on this issue. The Minister of State's own amendment, which has just been circulated, does not move us away from the very far reaching implications of the original provision in the draft Bill. I would like to hear the Minister of State's comments on the issue. To give blanket powers for drug testing to all employers is pushing safety requirements into an area of personal rights and goes too far.

I, too, met representatives of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and had a long discussion with them about their concerns in this area. Section 13(c) is not a blanket provision for random drug testing or any type of drug testing by employers. The section uses the phrase “as may be prescribed”. There is a requirement for regulations to be put in place.

It is a pig in a poke then, which is worse. Where are the regulations?

The Minister of State to continue without interruption.

It is not uncommon to make provision in legislation for regulations to be made. The undertaking I gave on Second Stage and also since is that we will consult the social partners about the regulations. Certainly, they will only apply in situations where there would be clear danger for employees if somebody was under the influence. In addition, amendment No. 31 reads: "for intoxicants by, or under the supervision of, a registered medical practitioner who is a competent person". This addresses one of the concerns raised by ICTU about these provisions.

The alternative, which would apply if I accepted Deputy Howlin's amendment, would be that I would be prepared to pretend that I was not aware there were circumstances in which there might be a real danger or hazard for individuals as a result of somebody in a certain employment being under the influence of an intoxicant or drug. Frankly, if I took that view, I would fail in my duty in this area. I accept that many, including the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, have concerns about this. However, this is not a blanket provision since it can apply only as may be prescribed in regulations. I am giving an undertaking on how the regulations will be prepared and the level of consultation that will take place. There is also the provision proposed in amendment No. 31.

Nobody disagrees that if somebody staggers into work, clearly drunk, and takes charge of a big truck, people are entitled to ensure not just their own safety but also that of the public. However, take the example of somebody who, in their free time at the weekend and despite the fact that it is illegal, smokes marijuana in the privacy of his or her home. Tests have shown that marijuana remains in a person's system for up to six weeks. Let us say this person returns to work two weeks later and, under this provision, his or her employer, without reasonable cause, decides to test him or her and finds traces of a drug in his or her system. The employer is justified in dismissing him or her on that basis and without taking the precaution of ascertaining when he or she inhaled the drug. Obviously, unlike others, he or she would have to inhale. Where is the protection in that situation? The person is not a danger or incapable but the random test could show this result. That is where the difficulty lies. Employers could conduct random tests without justification and possibly arrive at results which suit them.

My amendment forms part of this group. It seeks to insert a subsection which provides that nothing would infringe on people's privacy under the European Convention on Human Rights. The points made by Deputies Howlin and Lynch are important. There is no need for the Minister of State to include this in primary legislation; he can bring forward regulations with the agreement of the social partners. From the point of view of people's privacy, it is a serious provision to include in legislation in so bold a format, notwithstanding the reasons given by the Minister of State. The more reasonable approach in the context of partnership is to come to an agreement with the social partners to deal with it by regulations.

I strongly support amendment No. 34 tabled by Deputy Hogan. It is a reasonable amendment. As all members agree with the European Convention on Human Rights, that amendment must be accepted. However, if it is, amendment No. 30 falls. Amendment No. 34 cannot be included with amendment No. 30 as phrased. Even the Minister of State's amendment does not deal with reasonable cause to require an employee to submit to a test. The Bill attempts to deal with a complex matter in 24 words. Compare this to the provisions of Part 9 of the Railway Safety Bill 2001 where a couple of pages are required to deal with this complex matter.

I support amendment No. 30, tabled by Deputy Howlin, to delete paragraph (c) from the section. This provision should be removed. Paragraph (c) does not specify that the employer must have reasonable cause for suspicion that an employee is intoxicated with alcohol or drugs. Gardaí must have reasonable cause before they can stop a motorist and test them for the presence of alcohol. When the former Minister for Transport tabled an amendment to the Road Traffic Bill seeking to delete the requirement for reasonable suspicion or cause, there was a threat to bring it to the Supreme Court. According to sources close to him, the Minister backed off. It is intended, therefore, to retain the requirement for reasonable suspicion with regard to motorists, which is correct, but there is no requirement for reasonable suspicion with regard to people at work.

Nobody wishes to see people under the influence of alcohol or drugs in any place of employment, whether it is a major hazard or otherwise. However, the fundamental rights of workers must be protected and a 24 word provision clearly does not do this. The Minister of State should reconsider this provision.

I have not spoken since the Minister of State responded.

I am sorry for not calling the Deputy first.

I am happy to hear my colleagues' views.

I am concerned about the import of this section and the Minister of State's response. A comfort zone is created when a Minister says he or she will not tolerate a situation where anybody could be intoxicated. We have all dealt with officials who galvanise themselves against criticism but this provision strongly intrudes on personal rights. This applies in the instance suggested by my colleague with regard to a person taking an illegal intoxicant that might stay in his or her system for weeks, long after it would have an impairment value on his or her work. There is also the example of detecting a prescription drug for the treatment of a medical condition, of which the employee is not anxious to make his or her employer aware. The employer might have no right to be aware of it. A range of civil rights and personal issues is involved. There is now a weariness among many citizens with the nanny state being a little too prescriptive about how they live their lives.

This legislation deals with health and safety. It is clear that a person who has taken an intoxicant cannot be permitted to fly or act as a steward on an aeroplane or to drive a train. Such eventualities are dealt with in detail in the legislation that relates to the occupations to which I refer. Notwithstanding what the Minister of State indicated, the section is clear and states an employee shall "if reasonably required by his or her employer, submit to any appropriate, reasonable and proportionate tests by a competent person". There are people to whom this provision will relate who might never be a danger to themselves or anyone else. This is an appropriate matter to be negotiated at local level. The trade unions are anxious to deal with people because they have a paramount interest in protecting the safety of their members. However, the provision in section 13 will be used as a charter to go well beyond health and safety issues and if people want to do mischief or damage to others in a legal way, they will be able to use it to trample on individuals' legal rights.

I counsel the Minister of State not to be absolutist, to have regard to the points made fairly by members on this side and to achieve his objective by drafting regulations that we might consider and agree upon and through the negotiation of local agreements in various areas of employment. I am not saying that simply deleting the section and resorting to local negotiation will act as a panacea. The clause included in the section is not ameliorated in any way by the amendment the Minister of State has tabled. Its only saving grace is the fact that it provides that, where necessary, blood tests will be carried out by doctors, not mechanics. I do not mean to be facetious but the latter does not represent a great amelioration in respect of the core issue involved, namely, that people have a right to get on with their own lives.

There is a view abroad that Ireland is no longer a society but rather an economy to which we are all slaves. People have lives outside of their work and are entitled to privacy in those lives. They must work within the compass of being safe but the section could be taken to the extreme of meaning that people should never touch alcohol because it might have an impact on them two days after drinking it or that they should not stay up late at night because they will be tired the next day and this will have an effect on their work. Lines of reasonableness must always be drawn. Citizenship in a republic means something. I, therefore, ask the Minister of State to reflect carefully on what is being proposed and not seek to be absolutist. It is a comfort for any Minister or Minister of State to say he or she will be the defender of safety at all costs, regardless of the consequences. I genuinely believe this provision goes too far.

I will try to reply to the Deputies in the order in which they made their points. I am aware of the potential difficulties outlined by Deputy Lynch in respect of the possibility of an illegal substance appearing in a sample. I do not see any circumstances in which that could arise as a difficulty in respect of whatever regulations may be prescribed under section 13(c), as drafted——

Is there not a possibility that the information might be leaked?

——particularly in the context of tests being carried out under the supervision of registered medical practitioners. Deputy Howlin subsequently made the point that the right of an employer to access specific information on an employee might create difficulties. That is a matter with which we can satisfactorily deal in the regulations. There is no requirement for an employer to be given the exact information. That is a reasonable point and something which ought to be dealt with by regulations.

I welcome Deputy Howlin's point that it may be possible to deal with substantial elements of this matter under local agreements in particular workplaces. There is no reason provision for this could not be made in the regulations. It is my intention that, before any regulations are put in place, the social partners will be given every opportunity to express their own ideas. Sections 20 and 24 make provision for local agreements in many areas. My preferred outcome would be that we would take this route. However, as the Deputy stated, citizens have a right to a certain quality of life but they also have the right to be assured that if there is a considerable level of danger in their place of work, this will not exacerbated by the fact that someone in charge of, for example, a large machine might be under the influence of alcohol.

In some respects, much of this comes down to the message one wants to send out. It would be remiss of me not to send out the message that we are aware of an extremely small number of situations where an intoxicated employee could pose a danger to himself or herself and, more importantly, others. There is a range of employments to which this simply does not apply. However, there are a number of important areas of employment to which the concepts of health, safety and welfare at work apply and to which they are relevant. I am confident that section 13(c) does not provide, by any stretch of the imagination, a blanket testing provision for employers. The regulations, when prepared, will not encompass such blanket testing. I do not accept that it is possible, under regulations and separate from primary legislation, to put in place such provisions.

This is not, as I believe Deputy Morgan might have suggested, about the rights of alcoholics or drug-dependent people to work. It is an entirely separate issue. I would strongly support any provisions which would facilitate alcoholics or those dependent on drugs in being able to be active in the workplace. There is no reason they should not be so active. However, the latter is an entirely important but different issue which is not appropriate to this legislation.

I now wish to comment on amendment No. 34 in the name of Deputy Hogan. Section 13(c) came about following major consultation with legal practitioners, particularly in respect of the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights. That is the reason, for example, that the term “proportionate” is contained in the section. I am advised that were it not contained therein, the provision would not meet the requirements under the convention. As drafted, it does meet them.

I have given this section a good deal of thought and I am satisfied that there is a necessity for a provision of this nature, in some form, in primary legislation. I would have welcomed an amendment which addressed various concerns by altering the wording of the section but such an amendment has not been tabled. I have considered various options but, having taken account of the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights and the fact that this matter is dependent on agreement in respect of regulations, I have not been able to arrive at a better wording which would address the necessity to advert to this particular danger, on the one hand, while balancing this with and individual's rights, on the other.

It may be that many of our fears will be addressed when the regulations are published. However, we have not seen them and all we can do, as Deputy Morgan stated, is judge the baldness of section 13 (c) which states an employee shall “if reasonably required by his or her employer, submit to any appropriate, reasonable and proportionate tests by a competent person as may be prescribed”. That is the nature of the section with which we are dealing. That is the baldness of the section. We know nothing of the possibilities for exclusion of certain occupations, the discounting of irrelevant information, the secrecy of the test or the right of access to results. This is Parliament and we make the law. While secondary legislation is important, the Minister of State is telling us to buy a pig in a poke and that secondary legislation will deal with our concerns. That is not good enough with regard to the rights of citizens on such a fundamental issue as how they conduct their lives and react to employers at work. Before Report Stage the Minister of State should provide a draft of the regulations. If they are not available in draft form, he has no right to give assurances.

I can only give assurances on the basis of discussions I have had with various interested groups. Concerns have been raised by Members of the Oireachtas, the four bodies which appeared before the committee and others. This is a new area, one on which I have not gone into in specific detail. However, I know the principles by which I will abide when preparing regulations. I cannot hand over a draft I have spent half the night scribbling.

I agree with Deputy Howlin on the position of the Oireachtas in the preparation of legislation. This is particularly contentious secondary legislation. It might be appropriate, therefore, to place the regulations before the committee at advanced draft stage. I am prepared to undertake such an action if it meets the requirements of the Oireachtas in considering regulations but it has not been the practice heretofore. However, the Deputy's point on the role of the Oireachtas in the preparation of legislation is fundamental. I am anxious, in so far as is possible, to take account of it.

Will the Minister of State return to the committee on the matter?

If that would address the Deputy's final point, which is reasonable.

I would like an amendment to this section to require that regulations be discussed by the committee and adopted by the Oireachtas before they become law. The devil will be in the detail of this proposal. The Minister of State can address people's fears by ensuring confidentiality and relevance. Such assurances are not covered by this proposal. If this legislation is enacted, the Department will draw up regulations following consultation with everybody except the Oireachtas. They will be laid before the House when everybody else has signed off on them. I have an old-fashioned notion that the Oireachtas should make the law.

I concur with Deputy Howlin's last point. Agreements and deals are increasingly made outside the House and brought to us to be rubber-stamped. Ministers have often explained that they cannot allow an amendment because it is not part of such a deal done outside. Who are the legislators?

In reply to my question the Minister of State said section 13(c) would refer to those involved in dangerous or hazardous employment. However, the Bill does not state this. It does not restrict the practice of drug and alcohol testing to persons in safety sensitive jobs. It does not specify blood, breath or urine testing as indicative. We do not know what other tests could be employed. There is DNA testing, among others. Neither does the Bill specify the level of intoxicant required. Part 9 of the Railway Safety Bill 2001 contains a specific reference to blood alcohol levels, as does the Road Traffic Act 2002 and other legislation. This Bill contains no such reference and could be interpreted to mean anything. The Irish Council for Civil Liberties has stated section 13(c) runs contrary to the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Before we dispose of this amendment, can the Minister of State give us his view on amendment No. 34 which would sit comfortably with any legislation going through the Oireachtas? Otherwise it should not be proposed, nor should we have to reject it. It is essential to have a pronouncement on the amendment before we deal with amendment No. 30.

I have already responded to amendment No. 34 which was the subject of considerable discussion with regard to whether the wording would meet the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights. The term "proportionate" was of significant importance. I am assured by legal people that, as drafted, the Bill does meet the requirements. I had a discussion with the Irish Council for Civil Liberties about this and related matters. I explained to it that the wording in the Bill was reached to address the particular concern expressed.

As regards the matters raised by Deputy Howlin, the regulations will go through a process. The Health and Safety Authority, HSA, will be involved in consultations with the social partners. It is the agency charged with responsibility in this area and has a considerable level of expertise and experience in dealing with health and safety matters. The social partners have traditionally had a central role in our democracy. While theirs is not the role of Parliament, it is not in the country's interest to exclude them. I have offered to bring draft regulations before the committee rather than place them in the Oireachtas Library to be annulled within 21 days.

The formulation brought forward by the Minister of State is a way forward and I am happy with what he has proposed. However, I would like an amendment which would nail him down on the matter, although I do not doubt his word. This section cannot be brought forward without such a reference. Perhaps the Minister of State will bring forward an amendment on Report Stage to capture what he has proposed. While we accept him at his word, it would provide reassurance. It would also reassure those not participating in this debate that we are dealing with the matter. We could look at the proposed amendment, as could other parties. This section cannot be enacted until the regulations are drawn up, by which stage we might have asked appropriate bodies for their comments. We could hammer out the detail and make the Oireachtas more relevant. That is part of our job. I am grateful to the Minister of State.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 31:

In page 22, paragraph (c), lines 4 and 5, to delete “by a competent person” and substitute the following:

"for intoxicants by, or under the supervision of, a registered medical practitioner who is a competent person,".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 32:

In page 22, paragraph (f), line 13, after “training” to insert “and, as appropriate, undergo such assessment”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 33:

In page 22, between lines 36 and 37, to insert the following subsection:

"(2) An employee shall not, on entering into a contract of employment, misrepresent himself or herself to an employer with regard to the level of training as may be prescribed under subsection (1)(f).”.

This amendment was discussed with amendment No. 30.

This is a little different. It arose in connection with one of the previous provisions which had to do with agency workers and others. It was pointed out to us that an employee could represent himself or herself to an agency as being qualified to do a particular job and subsequently, in good faith, be taken on by an employer and that there would be no onus on him or her under the provisions of this Bill to be truthful about his or her level of training. This would create difficulties in terms of the additional training an employer might have to provide for others across a range of areas on associated dangers. The amendment arose from a submission made in discussion of the Bill with several groups.

I am a little concerned about this because it goes beyond the issue of safety. The new subsection (2) states:

An employee shall not, on entering into a contract of employment, misrepresent himself or herself to an employer with regard to the level of training as may be prescribed under subsection (1)(f).

I am happy, when I re-read it, that it applies to training as may be prescribed "under subsection (1)(f)” only which relates to health and safety.

I take it this is not stating he or she has a particular qualification.

Not at all.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 34 not moved.
Section 13, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 14 and 15 agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 35 and 103 will be discussed together. Is that agreed? Agreed.

I move amendment No. 35:

In page 24, subsection (6)(a), line 42, to delete “its identification” and substitute “the identification of the substance”.

These are technical amendments.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 16, as amended, agreed to.

I move amendment No. 36:

In page 26, before section 17, to insert the following new section:

"17.--(1) A person who commissions or procures construction work shall appoint in writing a competent person or persons for the purpose of ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the place of work——

(a) is designed and is capable of being constructed to be safe and without risk to health,

(b) can be maintained safely and without risk to health during subsequent use, and

(c) complies in all respects, as appropriate, with the relevant statutory provisions.

(2) A person who designs construction work shall ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the construction work——

(a) is designed and is capable of being constructed to be safe and without risk to health,

(b) can be maintained safely and without risk to health during subsequent use, and

(c) complies in all respects, as appropriate, with the relevant statutory provisions.

(3) A person who carries out construction work shall ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that it is constructed to be safe and without risk to health.".

Amendment agreed to.
Section 17 deleted.

I move amendment No. 37:

In page 26, subsection (1), line 44, after "provisions" to insert "in a non-domestic place of work".

A number of sections of the Bill draw a distinction between domestic and non-domestic places of work. The appointment of officers, under section 18, should have relevance only in a non-domestic place of work. The idea behind the amendment is to make this clear.

I cannot find my notes but I remember them somewhat.

The Minister of State will have to fire somebody.

A number of possible employments could be affected by the proposed exclusion. For example, on occasion health professionals visit a domestic location as part of their work.

For example, a public house.

No, I mean a house.

That is the only one I can think of.

Where a district nurse or health care professional visits a person's home, he or she is at his or her place of work, even though it would be somebody else's domestic premises.

The point was made strongly to us that in general farmers were in a domestic work area. While one could argue they work outside their houses, in general we are anxious to ensure they are included in the provisions of the Bill. This is another domestic work area which would be excluded.

I am a little concerned that we are trampling on the domestic household. The Minister of State spoke of a district nurse. Will he follow her in case the electrical wiring in the house of the elderly person she is visiting is not up to standard? Will he prosecute the poor elderly person if the district nurse is placed in jeopardy?

Are we giving the person to whom she is delivering a service the right to breathalyse her?

The Deputy is being mischievous.

I am talking about a domestic dwelling. The Minister of State instanced the case of a district nurse. How will the legislation protect her in the domestic household?

Certainly not by excluding her.

Will the Minister of State ensure every household complies with health and safety regulations? If a plumber is needed to come into one's house, one will need to have the Health and Safety Authority check out the house in case the person will be at risk. What will happen if there are sharp knives lying around the kitchen?

The reality is that there is other legislation under which a person, if injured, could seek redress. It is not unusual for people to undertake extensions of their domestic premises and make all kinds of alternations. If, for example, work on an extension to a domestic premises involves construction workers and others being in that place of residence, while I recognise Deputy Howlin's point, the onus will be on the employer. However, if one was to remove domestic work premises, it could be argued that the employer was not bound by the provisions of the Bill. I know the circumstances at which the Deputy is trying to get and my personal inclination would be to facilitate him if I could. However, in accepting the amendment, I would be excluding a great number of people whom I want to include.

How will it be achieved? The employer of a district nurse is the local health board. Is it bound to ensure the district nurse will not enter a household which is in any way unsafe? It will be a little difficult for the local authority to ensure the fire brigade or the ambulance crew will not go into a household that is unsafe.

There are exclusions under the Bill which include the fire brigade. However, as far as I know the district nurse is not excluded. I encourage employers in both circumstances, particularly in the case of the district nurse, to take whatever action could reasonably be taken to ensure the workplace is safe. In the case of other work being done in a domestic setting, for example, the construction of an extension or similar work, the effect of the amendment would be to exclude it. I do not think that is desirable.

While the issue of health and safety is extremely important, we must be practical and reasonable. I made the point on Second Stage that I had been notified that the Health and Safety Authority required ambulance crews in my health board area to carry life jackets because they might be called upon to board one of the ferries. It cost more than €100,000 to provide them.

Or is it to do with the flooding?

That could be it too.

I am aware of the point Deputy Howlin is making but sometimes one must trust people's judgment.

Commonsense will prevail. People from some counties have more of it than others.

Sometimes people may get it wrong.

Is the Deputy withdrawing his amendment?

I would like further clarification.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No 38:

In page 27, subsection (5)(c), line 34, after “employees” to insert “and other persons”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 39:

In page 27, subsection (5)(c), line 37, to delete “respectively”.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 18, as amended, agreed to.

We will now deal with amendment No. 40. Amendments Nos. 41, 42 and 50 are related. They will all be discussed together. Is that agreed? Agreed.

I move amendment No. 40:

In page 27, subsection (1), lines 44 and 45, to delete "and every person to whom sections 12 and 15 apply”.

These are four technical drafting amendments which tighten some of the provisions relating to emergency plans and procedures and express in a more clear fashion the duties which fall on persons covered by sections 12 and 15 to carry out a risk assessment and prepare a safety statement in respect of the duties they owe to persons who are not their employees.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 41:

In page 28, between lines 22 and 23, to insert the following subsection:

"(5) Every person to whom section 12 or 15 applies shall carry out a risk assessment in accordance with this section to the extent that his or her duties under those sections may apply to persons other than his or her employees.”.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 19, as amended, agreed to.

I move amendment No. 42:

In page 28, subsection (1), lines 23 and 24, to delete "and every person to whom sections 12 and 15 apply”.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment No. 43 is in the name of the Minister. Amendments Nos. 44 to 49, inclusive, are related. It is proposed to discuss amendments Nos. 43 to 49, inclusive, together. Is that agreed?

No, we should discuss them individually.

As amendments Nos. 43 and 44 are similar, it is agreed to discuss them together?

Because it is being proposed we should discuss amendments Nos. 43 and 44 together, amendment No. 45 in my name should be included as it refers to the same matter. It is another one of my amendments which for some reason the Minister decided to put in his own words,

Amendments Nos. 44 and 45 follow on from amendment No. 43. In amendment No. 44 I have made a slight change to the wording of amendment No. 45.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

I move amendment No. 43:

In page 28, subsection (2), between lines 36 and 37, to insert the following:

(c) the plans and procedures to be followed and the measures to be taken in the event of an emergency or serious and imminent danger, in compliance with sections 8 and 11,”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 44:

In page 29, subsection (3), line 5, after "statement" to insert ", in a form, manner and, as appropriate, language that is reasonably likely to be understood,".

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 45 not moved.

I move amendment No. 46:

In page 29, subsection (4), line 15, to delete "extracts" and substitute "aspects".

To comply with section 24, an employer will need a portable photocopier to ensure safety statements are given to all those affected. This is impractical and unduly onerous. I propose that the word "extracts" be replaced by "aspects". I do not think every employee expects to have the entire provisions of the legislation on his or her person at all times. He or she should have an understanding of the legislation. There is an onerous responsibility inherent in the section which I think is over the top.

Section 24 applies to specific tasks which cause serious risk to safety, health and welfare. The proposed amendment would considerably weaken the protective nature of this provision. Experience shows that many deaths and serious accidents might have been prevented if the information contained in the safety statement relative to a specific risk had been given to workers.

That is the judgment that must be made. The information we have on specific incidents indicates that the information ought to be given to protect the safety of workers.

There is a duty on employers under the legislation to make information available to employees on health and safety issues. I do not think it is realistic that an employee must at all times have a detailed statement in his or her possession on all aspects of health and safety. Aspects of the legislation inherent to the job must be imparted by the employer through regular workplace meetings. It is the responsibility of the human resources section to ensure employees are properly informed. The provisions of the Bill place an onerous responsibility on employers to ensure everybody is informed and has a copy of the health and safety measures in his or her possession.

One of the difficulties is that very good safety statements are sometimes kept at the head offices of companies and the relevant information on specific risks is not transmitted to the operational or outreach locations. That is the specific difficulty we are trying to address to ensure a sub-office has access to specific information.

There is an easier way of doing it than that proposed by the Minister of State. All the various locations could be incorporated in terms of the head office and its subsidiaries. The effect of this provision would be to incorporate every employee.

In some employments specific employees should recive the risk advice provided for. The Deputy suggests we should delete the word "extracts" and substitute it with the word "aspects". The advice we have received is that the word " extract" addresses the need in the section better than the word "aspect".

I would prefer if it was not included at all but I am trying to water it down as best I can in order that the Minister will see the reasonable side. I hope he sees that I am not in any way diluting the responsibilities or the need for information to be available but as I said, one will need to have a photocopier at hand to ensure everybody in every instance will have extracts from and full knowledge of the legislation. That is onerous. There are other obligations on the part of employers to ensure their employees are in a safe environment. It is inherent that it is their responsibility, through the human resources function, to ensure they are in compliance with the law.

A strong point has been made by Deputy Hogan of which the Minister of State will take serious note.

The Chairman likes what I have said.

Ultimately we want this legislation to work. Deputy Hogan has put his finger on one of the difficulties heretofore, namely, that in many cases good quality safety statements have been prepared and stashed away in a drawer. In this legislation we are trying to ensure, rather than costing several thousand euro and being stashed away in a drawer, they impact on the workplace. In construction, in particular, there tend to be many workplaces and they tend to be a long distance from head office or not in contact in any reasonable sense in terms of health and safety. What we are trying to achieve is a position where the individual worker is given the information necessary for his or her health and safety only, not the whole document which would take a week to read.

We have now reached 5 o'clock.

We will return to this tomorrow.

We will resume on amendment No. 46. Is that agreed? Agreed.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.
The Select Committee adjourned at 5.02 p.m. until 9.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 24 November 2004.