The Health and Safety Authority has today, (Tuesday 11th February), published its 2014 programme of work, which gives details of its priorities, initiatives and inspection numbers for the year.
Two of the Authority’s main priorities are to reduce the numbers killed and injured in agriculture and to reduce the high level of deaths involving vehicles in the workplace. Both of these areas are where the majority of fatal accidents have occurred over the last number of years.
Of the 11,520 inspections and investigations planned across all sectors, there will be 2,900 in agriculture, 2,500 in construction, 1,200 in chemicals, 700 in manufacturing and 800 inspections to help raise awareness in small businesses.
The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD said, “It is important to recognise the difficulties facing all businesses. The collaborative approach adopted by the Authority, using targeted inspections and compliance tools, is designed to encourage buy-in from all stakeholders as part of good sustainable business practices. As we implement the Action Plan for Jobs, rebuild the economy and create employment it is important that trends in workplace accidents and ill-health continue downwards”.
Martin O’Halloran, CEO of the Health and Safety Authority said a sustained reduction in workplace accidents cannot be achieved by enforcement activity alone, “While we welcome a 25% reduction in agriculture fatalities last year, we believe that behavioural change is the key to achieving year-on-year low accident rates in all sectors. This year we will continue to make compliance easier and promote the benefits of working safely. It’s not about restrictive work practices and increased costs, good health and safety performance is actually the opposite.”
Michael Horgan, Chairman of the Authority, believes that the targets set for this year are ambitious but achievable, “I believe that we can deliver what is a very comprehensive programme, reaching across all sectors. While, like all public services, we are working with reduced resources, our inspection and awareness raising activities are making a positive impact on Irish workplaces.”
Other priorities include promoting chemical safety with the objective of protecting human health and the environment while supporting and enhancing industry competitiveness.
The Authority will also continue its focus on the “workers of the future” with a range of programmes aimed at primary, secondary and third level students.
Copies of the Programme of Work 2014 can be downloaded from www.hsa.ie.