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November 26, 2012

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Quick consultation on Irish construction regs to reduce compliance “burden”

The Irish government has announced a consultation on proposed changes to the country’s construction regulations that would provide “a substantial reduction in the burden of compliance” and see many “low-risk” construction activities removed from regulatory requirements.

The draft Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013 are published today (26 November) and the consultation, which is being conducted by the Irish Health and Safety Authority (HSA), runs for just two-and-a-half weeks, until 14 December. The intention is that the new Regulations will be finalised, drafted and signed before 1 June 2013.

Among the changes proposed by the draft regulations are to:

  • simplify construction safety by consolidating six pieces of legislation;
  • reduce the regulatory burden on people having building works carried out and on the construction industry by removing many short, low-risk construction activities from the regulatory requirements of the Construction Regulations; and
  • lessen the administrative burden by reducing the obligation to create/maintain records.

The government also announced the signing today of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) (Amendment) Regulations 2012, which will mean that, with effect from 1 June 2013, domestic homeowners will come within the definition of ‘client’ for the purposes of workplace health and safety construction regulations, and will have additional health and safety duties when certain types of construction works are carried out in their homes.

Said HSA chief executive, Martin O’Halloran: “In the past three years there have been 11 fatalities in construction on domestic dwellings in Ireland. There have also been large numbers of serious injuries to workers on construction sites on domestic dwellings. By extending the health and safety provisions of the construction regulations to include some works being carried out on domestic houses, I am convinced that we can contribute to a reduction in this number.”

Mr O’Halloran reassured homeowners that advice, guidance and template documents would be provided by the HSA on its website for homeowners affected by the changes.

Ireland’s minister for jobs, enterprise and innovation, Richard Bruton TD, added: “These changes will achieve three important objectives. Firstly, they will help reduce the unacceptably high number of deaths and serious injuries to workers on construction sites. Secondly, they will help reduce activity in the shadow economy by promoting a higher level of general compliance, bringing benefits to the exchequer, to the construction sector and to the economy at large. And thirdly, they will ensure that the taxpayer avoids significant fines and legal costs as a result of infringement proceedings.” €

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11 years ago

I am really sick of hearing that regulations and compliance are a “burden”. this term really needs to be removed as there is no place for this in Health and Safety. Would they be calling it a burden to comply if it saved someone’s life, saved a director from being charged with corporate manslaughter? by saying complaince is a burden, you are setting a negative attitude to H&S.