22 of 23 inspections in meat plants carried out unannounced so far in August

22 out of 23 Covid-19 inspections carried out by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) in meat processing plants in August so far have been unannounced, the Minister for Health revealed today (Wednesday, August 26).

At the meeting of the Special Committee on Covid-19 Response, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said that the HSA only gave notice ahead of one inspection in a meat plant this month so far.

Minister Donnelly added that he would “like to see as many inspections as possible, to make sure high-risk workplaces, in particular, are compliant with the [Covid-19] protocols that have been put in place”.

“My preference is that there [are] more unannounced inspections, for obvious reasons.”

Meat processing only industry to receive advance warning of Covid-19 inspections

The controversy over inspections being carried out in meat plants unannounced has been ongoing throughout the pandemic.

Less than a fortnight ago, AgriLand discovered that every announced Covid-19 inspection carried out by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) took place in meat processing plants, AgriLand can reveal.

99% of all Covid-19 inspections/investigations carried out in workplaces were unannounced since the commencement of the easing of restrictions across the country.

Only 23% of inspections/investigations carried out in meat plants were unannounced.

As reported on August 13, the HSA said that, of the 39 Covid-19 compliance inspections carried out in meat plants in the Republic of Ireland, only nine were unannounced.

Also Read: Only 9 out of 39 Covid-19 inspections in meat plants were unannounced

Responding to queries by AgriLand, the HSA revealed that the “vast majority”, greater than 99%, of HSA inspections were carried out unannounced in workplaces.

At that stage, the HSA had conducted 3,840 inspections, of which 2,844 addressed Covid-19 measures. The 1%, or 30 workplaces that were announced prior to inspection, were all in meat plants.