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Health and Safety Authority convenes new advisory committee focusing on health settings

By Reporter - 24th Apr 2024

The board of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has announced the establishment of a health and social care advisory committee (HSCAC), which includes key stakeholders from across the sector.

The HSCAC will provide a forum for those stakeholders to advise and support the Authority in promoting best practice in occupational health and safety in the health sector.

Ms Patricia Bryon, Chairperson, HSA, said: “The board welcomes the establishment of the health and social care advisory committee, which will provide a forum for key stakeholders to advise and support the HSA in promoting and advising on best practice in occupational health and safety in this important sector. This collaborative approach has worked well for us with other industry advisory committees including in construction and farming, and the board look forward to gaining a multilateral perspective where health and safety of workers is paramount.”

Co-Chairpersons of the HSCAC, Mr David Hughes and Mr Terry O’Niadh, welcomed members saying: “We know that safe systems of work can best be achieved where collaboration takes place and workers are represented. There should be buy in to the need for constant hazard identification and risk assessment with receptive management. We look forward to working collaboratively with all members of this committee and to bring about improvements to health and safety for all workers in this sector.”

Last June, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) advised members of the planned establishment of the new HSA committee following a lobbying campaign. It described the development as a “huge turning point” for the safety and wellbeing of nurses, midwives, and other healthcare workers.

Advisory committees for farming and construction had been “transformative” in respect of reducing injuries and fatal accidents in these sectors, outlined the INMO.

Speaking to the Medical Independent last year following the announcement, INMO General Secretary Ms Phil Ní Sheaghdha said the union had lobbied the HSA to enhance its activity in healthcare for a number of years.

“We have examined their annual report for the last three years and noticed that the areas where they have advisory committees in place had a lot more inspections, a lot more follow-on, and had a lot more prosecutions. So, we then went to the Minister with responsibility [for the HSA], Simon Coveney, and we presented this as part of our submission.”

Further details on the committee are available here: https://www.hsa.ie/eng/your_industry/health_and_social_care_sector/health_and_social_care_advisory_committee.html

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