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Health and Safety Authority ‘stripped back to absolute minimum’ – Maurice Quinlivan TD

23 January, 2018 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD today revealed correspondence between the CEO of the Health and Safety Authority and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Innovation shows that due to a lack of resources means the agency is working on a reactive basis and parts of the agency have been stripped back to the absolute minimum.

Speaking today, the Limerick City TD said;

"This correspondence obtained under a freedom of information request, highlights the disquiet between the HSA and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation concerning the effect a lack of resources is having on the agency.

“The Health and Safety Authority submitted an action plan to the Department on the 20th of September 2017, outlining the need for an additional 48 personnel.

“At the beginning of October, the CEO of the HSA gave a media interview which highlighted the agency needed 50 additional staff to allow it to meet its remit.

“The Department responded the day after this interview expressing surprise at it and saying some of the statements and issues raised in a plan submitted to the Department were ‘alarming’.

“It is clear the Department took no notice of the HSA’s action plan and staffing requirements when they were submitted, and only took notice when the CEO was forced to go on the radio and outline the agency’s requirements.

“In response the CEO stated that ‘at the moment there are quite a number of areas we are dealing with on a purely reactive basis and other areas where there are effectively no programmes. Other areas such as COMAH and ADR have been stripped back to the absolute minimum.’

“It is totally unacceptable for areas of this agency to be described as stripped back to the absolute minimum, while some areas of the agency have no initiatives due to resources.  In my opinion, this is another casualty of the sacrifices made to allow Fine Gael give away €335 million in tax cuts in Budget 2018.

“It is equally concerning that the CEO of an agency under the remit of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, is forced to go on national radio to try and push the Department into providing the staffing requirements needed.

“Workplace related inspections have fallen from 13,835 in 2012 to 10,477 in 2016, with the number of workplace fatalities totalling 47 in 2017.

“Other correspondence cites the low pay offered by the agency as a problem to filling positions, while the cost of living in Dublin meant that some people were unable to accept the salary reductions involved in taking a job with the agency.

“The Minister must outline whether she intends to allocate the funding required by this agency, to ensure the HSA has funding for personnel needed, and to allow it attract staff to work at the agency, to make sure workplace safety standards are maintained, and workplace fatalities are reduced.”

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