Thursday, 17 April 2014

Questions (107)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

107. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he has any concerns regarding the practice of single-manning staff in betting offices and the implications for worker health and safety. [18276/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

As the Minister responsible for workplace health and safety, I am concerned about safe working conditions for all workers. The main responsibility for protection of worker health and safety lies with employers. Each employer has a legal duty to ensure the safety, health and welfare at work of their staff. This applies to the betting industry no less than any other sector.

The principles of prevention and of risk-based assessment are fundamental to all legislation dealing with health and safety at work in Ireland. Section 19 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 requires an employer to produce a written risk assessment and safety statement that must be communicated, in an understandable form, to relevant employees.

In assessing risk, a lone worker, particularly in a workplace where there is exposure to large amounts of cash, could be considered to be potentially at greater risk with regard to their personal safety. A risk assessment related to such workplaces would be expected to identify any potential hazards in that regard, and recommend appropriate controls to mitigate the risk.

I should also point to the overall regulatory environment covering the betting industry – notably the licensing provisions of the Betting Act 1931, which comes under the responsibility of the Minister for Finance – as well as the comprehensive new licensing and regulatory framework which will henceforth cover gambling, along with land-based betting, that is being addressed by the Minister for Justice and Equality in the preparation of the Gambling Control Bill.