The Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD, has launched the Health and Safety Authority’s new Strategy Statement for 2022 – 2024. The new Strategy sets out the Authority’s continued goals to promote, regulate and influence the culture of safety and health in the workplace.
The Health and Safety Authority has a wide and varied mandate including acting as the national body with responsibility for protecting all workers nationwide from work-related incidents, injuries and ill health. It also acts as the market surveillance authority for chemicals and industrial products and protects all citizens from the risks arising from the use of chemicals. The Authority provides the national accreditation service through the Irish National Accreditation Body (INAB).
Launching the new HSA Strategy Statement, Minster Damien English TD, stated, “this new strategy clearly sets out the HSA’s priorities and goals whilst taking into account the ongoing challenges that workers and organisations, including the Authority, will face over the next three years. These include emerging from the COVID-19 public health pandemic, dealing with the continued fallout from the UK exit from the EU and addressing new ways of working. The strategy is also responding to the increasing use of technology in the workplace and the challenges and opportunities this can present in keeping our workplaces safe.”
“The government recognises the importance of the wide and varied role of the HSA and I look forward to working with the Authority to support and enable it to meet its vision of healthy, safe and productive lives and enterprises over the course of this strategy.”
“To coincide with the Strategy Statement 2022-2024 the Authority has published a Programme of Work which details the key priorities for 2022. In the year ahead, the Authority will continue to focus on high-risk sectors and hazards which cause fatalities, incidents, injuries and ill health, such as falling from heights and the hazards of working with machinery. In addition, it will emphasise the need to address occupational health hazards, in particular those associated with psychosocial and ergonomic risks, and exposure to chemical and biological agents.”
Looking forward there are also new challenges, including the impact of the pandemic in accelerating the move to remote/hybrid working and the continued growth of the ‘gig economy’ in Ireland. The strategy also highlights the particular needs of vulnerable workers and migrant groups.
In presenting this new strategy and the Authority’s Programme of Work for 2022, Dr Sharon McGuinness, Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority, said, “throughout the implementation of our new Strategy Statement and our annual Programmes of Work, the Authority will be setting out to achieve tangible outcomes in occupational safety and health (OSH), accreditation, chemicals, and market surveillance. The key to a successful and productive economy and workforce is a commitment to safer and healthier working lives for all.”
“The Authority remains focused on the challenges facing today’s workplaces and enterprises, but is also looking ahead to the future where we see the introduction of new technology and the increased focus on climate action and chemicals sustainability, bringing benefits to occupational safety and health. The Authority will also remain committed to offering enterprises, employers and employees a range of tools and supports to enable them to meet their statutory obligations and ensuring they keep themselves and their workplaces safe.”
The HSA strategy launched today is the sixth strategy statement presented by the Authority and was developed in collaboration with key stakeholders and through public consultation. It was developed with the present and future conditions of workplaces and the needs of enterprises across Ireland in mind.
Tom Coughlan, Chairperson of the Health and Safety Authority, said on presenting the Strategy Statement for 2022-2024, “setting out the goals and key objectives of this Strategy Statement highlights the importance of partnership and collaboration and how it continues to be at the forefront of how we promote compliance. As a tripartite Board, with representatives from employee and employer stakeholders as members, we recognise the importance of constructive and co-operative engagement in meeting the goal of safe and healthy workplaces for all and we encourage employers and employees to continue to engage and work with the Authority in achieving this.”