Cuts to workplace safety funding utter madness - Crowe
Reacting to news that the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is being forced to drastically cut its funding to work place educational safety initiatives, Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe, criticised the Government imposed cuts as “utter madness”, and said that it will inevitably lead to more accidents.
Arguing in favour of a greater roll out of safety initiatives, the Sinn Féin Deputy said that cutting nearly half of this funding didn’t make sense, and that education and prevention was the key to eradicating workplace accidents.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“The Health and Safety Authority has an onerous responsibility for ensuring that approximately 1.8 million workers (employed and self-employed), and those affected by work activity, are protected from work related injury and ill-health. They do this by enforcing occupational health and safety law, promoting accident prevention, providing information and advice across all sectors, including retail, healthcare, manufacturing, fishing, entertainment, mining, construction, agriculture and food services.
"The news that the current Workplace Safety Initiatives funding has been cut from €1.77 million in 2015 to nearly half that amount (€957,000) this year is deeply worrying. This cut is short sighted, utter madness when it comes to safety, and it doesn’t make any economic or health and safety sense. We know that education prevention and workplace initiatives do raise awareness and have an overall positive impact in the workplace. As a society we should be encouraging more of these initiatives not cutting them.
“Workplace place accidents are going down, but 56 workers lost their lives last year as a result of accidents. Behind every one of those deaths is a family trying to make sense of what happened and to rebuild their lives without their loved one. We need to be doing more to bring the numbers of these unacceptable deaths down, not less.
“Surely the best way of reducing many of these unnecessary deaths is through awareness programmes and health safety initiatives in the workplace. Our workplace priorities and initiatives need to be about increasing the focus on work-related health risks, and maintaining and developing the advances achieved in the management of work-related safety risks.
“It also needs to be about increasing the focus on the risks to human safety and health arising from chemicals used at work and by the general public. It should provide training and continue to change and transform the way we work to make the workplace a safer environment.
“This year’s huge cut in the funding of safety initiatives needs to reviewed and reversed. This cut doesn’t make any sense. It is going against best practice and against health and safety efforts to make work friendly workplaces. Any cut to education around health safety is utter madness and needs to be reversed.”