Source: Sinn Féin
1 May, 2020 – by Maurice Quinlivan TD
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Workers’ Rights Maurice Quinlivan today said the government must clarify the inspection regime for workplaces as part of any roadmap to lifting restrictions.
Speaking on May Day, Deputy Quinlivan said the health and safety of workers must take priority above all else as part of these plans.
“Any roadmap for the lifting of restrictions in the next few weeks must include detailed plans for the inspection of workplaces to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers are protected during the continuing pandemic.
“A grey area has now arisen around the powers available to existing inspectors and whether the Workplace Relations Commission or Health and Safety Authority will be taking the lead on workplace inspections relating to Covid-19.
“The Minister needs to state whether these inspectors have the required authority under law to deal with this new public health challenge, and also if she has secured protective equipment for these inspectors.
“This is a huge undertaking for either of these agencies, as every single workplace reopening will need to have strict measures in places in order to protect workers and customers. Is there adequate funding in place for this massive expansion of inspections?
“We will need the publishing of real time, transparent information on the number of site visits and enforcement proceedings, to monitor how robust the inspection regime is.
“It is clear there are more questions than answers around this critical issue, and so Minister Humphreys, the Minister with responsibility for the WRC and HSA, needs to urgently bring clarity to this area.”