Risks is the TUC's weekly newsletter for safety reps and others, sponsored by Thompsons Solicitors.
The Irish construction union SIPTU has called for its organisers to be granted a legal right of access to building sites across the country following a doubling in the number of construction workers who died in workplace incidents. SIPTU sector organiser John Regan said: “New figures released by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) indicate that the number of workplace deaths in the construction sector more than doubled in the last year from five in 2018 to 12 in 2019. The HSA also recorded 940 non-fatal accidents in the sector during 2019.” He added: “These worrying statistics are disappointing but not surprising. The issue of bogus self-employment is one of the key issues leading to increased fatalities in the construction industry. Workers forced into becoming self-employed are often not fully aware of their responsibilities under health and safety legislation. The HSA in its annual statement also identified self-employment in the construction sector as a contributory factor in the rise of accidents on sites. Another issue is that of employers passing on the costs of mandatory construction safe pass training to workers. These costs should be covered by employers who must also accept their responsibility for ensuring their workers have adequate safety training.” The union officer concluded: “The government must act to ensure greater safety on building sites by amending the 2005 Health and Safety Act to give union organisers access to all building sites. Our organisers would ensure greater compliance with health and safety legislation. Union membership also provides workers with greater protection and confidence in highlighting breaches of safety regulations and standards in their workplace.”
SIPTU news release. HSA news release.
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