Dáil Éireann - Volume 397 - 27 March, 1990
Written Answers. - Health and Safety Legislation.
Mr. Howlin Mr. Howlin
60. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Labour if he is satisfied with the operation of all health and safety legislation in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Labour (Mr. B. Ahern) Bertie Ahern
Minister for Labour (Mr. B. Ahern): The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 1989, which came into operation on 1 November 1989, applies to all employers, their employees and the self-employed. It also relates to the safety and health of other persons who may be affected by work activities. Earlier legislation, including the Safety in Industry Acts, 1955 and 1980, the Office Premises Act, 1958, and the Dangerous Substances Acts, 1972 and 1979, will remain in force — except for a limited number of repeals — in their respective areas alongside the 1989 Act.
Under the 1989 Act, the National Authority for Occupational Safety and Health have overall responsibility for administering an enforcing occupational safety and health legislation. The Authority also have the function of keeping relevant legislation under review and of submitting to me proposals for improvements. I will be giving careful consideration to any such proposals which the Authority may submit, based on their observation of the operation of the existing legislation.
Over time, I would expect that a number of provisions of the existing enactments on safety and health will be repealed and replaced by regulations and-or codes of practice, as provided for in the 1989 Act. We must also expect changes arising from developments at European Community level in the occupational safety and health area. These will be incorporated into our national legislation on an ongoing basis through the implementation of the provision of EC Directives. That process will help to establish a unified code of primary  legislation, regulations and codes of practice on safety and health at work.
In January last, I received the proposed work programme 1990-1992 of the authority. On the basis of this programme, I am satisfied that arrangements for the development, review and enforcement of occupational safety and health legislation are being tackled progressively. I expect that the activities of the authority will provide an inpetus for employers, in co-operation with their employees, to work towards a continuing improvement in safety and health at all workplaces.
Dáil Éireann 397 Written Answers. Health and Safety Legislation.