Thursday, 24 September 2020

Questions (60)

Bríd Smith


60. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of HSA inspections of airport terminals or airline operations to ensure they are complying with workplace safety measures in relation to Covid-19; if the authority is aware of or adheres to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, EASA, guidelines for airports and airlines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26085/20]

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Written answers (Question to Enterprise)

The national Return to Work Safely Protocol should be used by all workplaces to adapt their workplace procedures and practices to comply fully with the COVID-19 related public health protection measures identified as necessary by the Health Service Executive and the Department of Health. The Protocol operates in parallel with existing workplace health and safety statutory requirements. The Protocol sets out in very clear terms for employers and workers, in all business sectors, the steps that they must take on an ongoing basis.

The Health and Safety Authority is the lead agency in monitoring adherence to the Protocol but I would emphasise that, in the first instance, employers and workers have a joint responsibility for adhering to the procedures and practices set out in the Protocol which are designed to protect the health and safety of all concerned.

I understand that the Health and Safety Authority has not carried out any specific compliance checks in relation to the Return to Work Safely Protocol in airport terminals or with airline operations. However, any individual who has concerns about compliance in any business sector can contact the Health and Safety Authority Workplace Contact Unit (WCU) on a confidential basis at 1890 289 389 or by sending an email to If following such a complaint, there are serious concerns about a particular workplace, the Health and Safety Authority, or another agency or tasked with inspecting workplace compliance with the Protocol, will follow-up as appropriate.

In addition, the Health and Safety Authority continues to provide advice and support to employers and employees on how they are implementing the COVID-19 measures in the workplace through its helpline and website and it has developed checklists and templates for use by employers, workers and worker representatives,

I am advised by the Health and Safety Authority that they are aware of the EASA COVID-19 Aviation Health Safety protocol. In carrying out inspections and investigations the Health and Safety Authority will take all occupational health and safety requirements, as well as the national Return to Work Safely Protocol, other sector specific protocols and relevant workplace safety management systems into account.