Thursday, 11 March 2004

Questions (38)

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

36 Mr. M. Higgins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position with regard to her consultation with the social partners on proposals to increase penalties for breaches of the health and safety legislation, especially in view of the ongoing level of death and injury being caused to workers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8078/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Enterprise)

Currently proposals to repeal and amend the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 1989 have been developed at departmental level and are at present the subject of legal drafting by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel. These proposals are largely the result of a review carried out by the tripartite board, representing the social partners, of the Health and Safety Authority which had been requested to carry out a fundamental review of the Act with a view to identifying where changes and improvements could be made to the existing principal legislation. The new Bill will have provision for increased fines following conviction in the courts and will also provide for on-the-spot fines. I expect to be in a position to introduce a Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Bill after Easter and I intend to consult the social partners before publication of the Bill.

Question No. 37 answered orally with QuestionNo. 9