Thursday, 17 June 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
18. Mr. Cuffe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the role her Department has in monitoring health and safety conditions for workers in national car testing centres; whether environmental working conditions in such centres are analysed; and the methods that are used to inspect them. [18126/04]
Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Mr. Fahey): The day-to-day responsibility for the administration and enforcement of occupational safety and health legislation is a matter for the Health and Safety Authority. The legislation includes the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 1989 and a range of regulations, including the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 1993 and the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Chemical Agents) Regulations 2001.
NCT centres like all other workplaces are subject to occupational safety and health legislation. They are liable to inspection by the authority in accordance with its prioritised programme of work and standard operational procedures.
The methods used for the inspection of workplaces depends on a range of factors including the nature of the visit. It may be a routine inspection, a follow-up inspection, an investigation into an accident or a complaint. During an inspection inspectors may speak to managers, safety officers and, where available, worker safety representatives. Follow-up action includes verbal and written advice and, where necessary, the issuing of enforcement notices. In general a copy of a formal enforcement direction or notice is sent to the site safety representative for information.
Monitoring of the workplace atmosphere on the potential exposure to hazardous chemical agents is covered by the Chemical Agents Regulations 2001. They require employers to identify the hazards, assess the risks and put in place appropriate control measures. As part of the risk assessment it may be necessary for the employer to establish, or have established on his or her behalf, the level of chemical agents being emitted in the workplace atmosphere.
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