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Health and Safety Regulations.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 17 May 2006

Wednesday, 17 May 2006

Ceisteanna (91, 92)

Mary Upton

Ceist:

135 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of deaths and injuries arising from workplace accidents generally and specifically in regard to the construction industry for 2005; the way in which these figures compare with 2004 and 2003; the figures to date in 2006; the additional steps he intends to take to reduce such accidents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18190/06]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment)

The Health and Safety Authority published its Annual Report for 2005 and its Summary of Fatality, Injury and Illness Statistics 2004-2005 on Tuesday May 9th. Much of the details that the Deputy seeks can be found in the latter report which contains detailed breakdowns on Injuries, Illness and Fatalities of workers across economic sectors.

Overall, there were 68 workplace deaths in 2003, 50 in 2004, 73 in 2005 and 13 so far in 2006. In the Construction Industry specifically, there were 20 deaths in 2003, 16 in 2004, 23 in 2005 and one so far in 2006.

In terms of injuries from work place accidents, data from the Central Statistics Office, Quarterly National Household Survey, shows overall levels of 21,900 injuries in 2003 and 21,840 in 2004, the last year for which data is available. The injury levels in construction were 5,300 in 2003 and 5,820 in 2004.

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, which I brought into operation on 1 September 2005, updates, repeals and replaces the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 1989 and provides a modern legal framework to guarantee best international practice in regard to health and safety in Irish workplaces.

There are over 200,000 workplaces in Ireland and in order to make best use of its resources, the Health & Safety Authority is once again in its Programme of Work for 2006 prioritising a number of sectors for attention. These include the high-risk sectors of agriculture, construction, and mines and quarries, as well as the health services, local authorities and process industries. Key actions in these sectors will include—

•a major national road show which will visit a minimum of 5,000 construction workers;

•the development of a farm "safety village" at the World Ploughing Championships and;

•the publication of codes of practice tailored to those employing three or less in the agriculture, quarrying, and construction sectors.

In relation to the Construction Sector specifically, the Authority plans to—

•carry out a focused programme of 7,500 construction site inspections covering appointment of duty-holders and assignment of responsibilities, safety and health plans and safety statements, work at heights, reversing vehicle safety, welfare and training arrangements;

•develop and implement a major promotional campaign;

•hold industry information briefings on the Construction Regulations targeting managers and designers and including vibration, noise, work at height, underground services, roof work, and the lifting equipment regulations;

•research the issues involved in the employment of non-English speaking workers; and,

•prepare guidance on construction-specific aspects of work at a height and progress draft codes of practice on pre-cast construction, concrete anchors, and client best practice.

Question No. 136 answered with QuestionNo. 93.

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

137 Mr. Ferris asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment further to the revelation in his reply to Parliamentary Question No. 439 of 25 April 2006 that only 76% of workplaces inspected in 2005 had safety statements available, the breakdown of the actions which were taken against the 24% of employers who in 2005 were found not to have safety statements available including the number and percentage of employers against whom prosecutions where initiated and penalties imposed. [18336/06]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Under Section 20 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2006 every employer is required to prepare a written safety statement, identifying hazards and assessing the specific risks at that place of work, outlining protective and preventive measures taken and emergency plans.

Enforcement action was taken by the Health & Safety Authority in 42% of inspections carried out in 2005. This action comprised inspectors serving 493 Prohibition Notices, 458 Improvement Notices, 10 Improvement Directions and 4,770 written advice letters. These covered all types of breaches under the 2005 Act and other occupational safety and health Regulations.

In addition, 40 prosecution cases were taken in 2005 which resulted in fines totalling €463,338 being imposed by the Courts. 22 of these cases were taken under summary proceedings and the remaining 18 were on indictment. 85% of the cases resulted in convictions, while the Probation Act was applied in one case.

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