Health risks and Brexit to the fore as HSA unveils 2-year strategy

The launch of the Health and Safety Authority’s (HSA’s) “Strategy Statement 2019-21” has been announced by Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen.

Revealed today (Tuesday, February 26), the new strategy focuses on delivering on the authority’s vision of healthy, safe and productive lives and enterprises.

The authority will have an increased focus on long-term occupational health risks, while the impact of Brexit on Irish industry to also be closely monitored.

In welcoming the strategy, Minister Breen said: “Every worker in Ireland should be able to return home safe and well at the end of the working day.

“With more and more people employed, and thousands of new and younger workers joining the workforce every month, it is essential that the safety and health of employees is prioritised.”

The strategic priorities for 2019-21 are:
  • Increased focus on compliance through risk-based enforcement and inspection;
  • Support, educate and raise awareness to prevent work-related accidents, injuries and ill health;
  • Partner and collaborate in support of healthy, safe and productive lives and enterprises;
  • Grow the national accreditation service to enable and support enterprise and public services; and
  • Improve the way we work through people, processes and technology.

Minister Breen added: “The authority also has an important role to play in relation to Brexit, the impact of which will be keenly felt during the lifetime of this strategy.

“The accreditation function of the authority will be particularly important in helping industry deal with the possible impacts of Brexit.

“Working in close partnership with other state agencies, the work of the authority will continue to feed into broader Government activity in helping get Ireland Brexit ready.”

Dr. Sharon McGuinness, chief executive officer of the HSA, said: “Occupational health can be a challenge for many organisations where the long-term or hidden nature of some health issues, for example in relation to stress or exposure to carcinogens, can be difficult to identify and manage.

The authority will focus resources in this area in an effort to ensure that employers and employees are aware of the issues and have the information and knowledge to meet their responsibilities.

Tom Coughlan, chairman of the HSA, added: “We depend heavily on stakeholder engagement and a collaborative approach has always been at the forefront of how the authority achieves its aims.”

Copies of the Health and Safety Authority’s Strategy Statement 2019-21 and accompanying Programme of Work 2019 can be downloaded from: www.hsa.ie.

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