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Safety at work report proves need for greater enforcement

8 August, 2006


Sinn Fein spokesperson on Workers' Rights Arthur Morgan TD today welcomed the Report on, Economic Impact of Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Legislation commissioned by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. He went on to say that the report showed that stricter Health and Safety measures, greater fines, more inspectorate visits, and individual accountability for those in control of the company, would have the effect of reducing workplace accidents.

Deputy Morgan said:

"Sinn Fein has continually demanded that greater fines, more Health and Safety Authority and Labour Inspectorate visits and individual accountability for those in control of the workplace, alongside greater publicity surrounding these would be an aid to reducing accidents in the workplace. This report reinforces this view.

"While Sinn Fein welcomes the fact that 96% of respondents in the report felt that the benefits of compliance with Health and Safety Legislation outweighed costs for the company, it is up to the Government to ensure that this report is followed up. Given that in 2005 there were 1,647 injuries in the Construction Sector reported to the Health and Safety Authority, and 803 by June of this year it is imperative that the legislative regulations that are there are enforced.

"But the Government must go further. In 2005 there were 73 workplace fatalities, a substantial increase on the year before. This shows that not only should current legislation be enforced to the letter but also Corporate Manslaughter legislation should be brought forward as well. The report says that individual accountability has been found to help compliance with Health and Safety Legislation so it follows from this that the enactment of corporate manslaughter legislation would help in this are also.

"The report shows that Health and Safety legislation does not adversely impact business costs and actually reduces accident related costs and this should be seen as an incentive for compliance for companies across the 26 counties."

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