News & Media

Robust inspection regime of workplaces needed

14 May 2020

Statement by Ged Nash TD
Spokesperson on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform

Speaking in the Dáil on Business statements, and the roadmap to reopen the economy, Labour employment spokesperson Ged Nash TD called for more Health and Safety Agency inspectors.

Deputy Nash said:

“We will need a very robust inspection regime from the Health and Safety Agency as more workplaces reopen, and those found breaking the rules must be held to account.

“That means more inspectors. At the moment there are only about 100 inspectors in the HSA. With many workplaces due to reopen on Monday, this needs urgent attention to ensure social distancing is enforced, and that employees can work in a safe environment.

“Why has the HSA not been directed to hire more staff?

“Enforcement will only succeed with enough inspectors on the ground. We know there have already been 200 complaints over breaches of Covid-10 guidelines but none seem to have resulted in workplace inspections.

“Workers also need to have confidence that they can make a complaint without fear of later being victimised by their employer. That’s why the Minister also needs to give direction on how she intends to protect complainants from potential victimisation by their employers?"

In the Dáil, Deputy Nash also raised the job losses in National Pen, the need for a general insurance indemnity for Covid-19, the uptake of business supports, and reiterated Labour’s position that any public support must be contingent on employers agreeing to sign up to engage with the industrial relations machinery of the State.