1770c Ireland’s regulatory framework on occupational safety and health: prevention and enforcement, policy and practice

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Abstract

An overview of the evolution of workplace safety and Health including wellbeing and mental health in workplaces in Ireland since 1989 with a particular focus on the period since 2005. I will outline the operational policy and practice of the Health and Safety Authority in terms of prevention and enforcement up to and including prosecution.

I will explore the legislative base, the information and advice platforms, our collaborative and partnership working, provision of tools to duty holders and proportionate risk based enforcement. The objective has been to raise awareness across the population and duty holders, to change behaviours, and to hold the non-compliant to account.

The Authority has developed a number of three year rolling strategies over the periods which have guided the development of annual programmes of work. The authority has been instrumental in developing some internationally recognised and acclaimed models and tools for implementing a preventive approach.

The authority has adopted the use of social media to promote the messages and has also become active in the national education systems to promote and train students so they are ready and competent with an appreciation of the duties of care owed to them when they enter the workforce.

We have also worked in a very collaborative and partnership manner engaging other state organizations as well as private sector representative groups including OSH community voluntary groups in promoting a common message and developing and implementing agreed action plans. Other aspects to be covered include research to underpin objective interventions, which are evidence based and evaluating their impacts.

I will review performance achieved over the period also outline the difficulties and challenges still facing the organisation which will require further work to achieve the sustained downward trend that is sought in occupational safety, health, wellbeing and mental health.

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