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Covid-19 Pandemic

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 25 February 2021

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Questions (208)

Thomas Gould


208. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science if Safepass courses are still operating. [10657/21]

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Written answers (Question to Further and Higher Education)

Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013,  craft and general construction workers, persons undertaking on-site security work and persons or classes of persons as may be prescribed by the Minister are required to hold a safety awareness registration card (Safe Pass card).  In March 2020 the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation amended these regulations to extend the expiry dates of valid Safe Pass cards due to expire after the 1st March 2020 for the duration of the Covid-19 emergency period.

Provision of Safe Pass courses had been suspended for the second time in two years with the shutdown of the construction sector in January.  Given the continuation of essential construction activity, SOLAS who administer the Safe Pass Programme have been advised that limited resumption of Safe Pass training may take place to meet the needs of new workers accessing critical projects.  Training activity should be in accordance with the COVID safety arrangements developed by SOLAS and limited to the level absolutely necessary and time-critical. In addition the following requirements are to be met by SOLAS:-

1. ensure training is limited to workers engaged in essential construction work,

2. ensure training is limited to those not currently holding valid cards, and

3. approve the running of Safe Pass courses on a case by case basis based on 1 and 2 - training providers must inform SOLAS in advance of their plans to run a course and demonstrate the immediate requirement for the training.

SOLAS is continuing to work on the development of an alternative delivery model which is equitable with existing Safe Pass, CSCS and QSCS course delivery, in being accessible to all eligible workers, providing real time course participant supports and ensuring assessment integrity.