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Mon June 14 2021

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Irish senator calls for more robust site-card regime

20 Jun 13 A more robust site card system would improve safety and compliance in construction industry, Dublin Fine Gael senator Catherine Noone said this week.

Noone: wants changes to site cards
Noone: wants changes to site cards

“The construction industry has been struggling to cope with the aftermath of the housing bust for the last number of years,” she said. “The industry is not being helped by rogue operators taking a lax approach to safety and compliance. This is making it much harder for legitimate companies trying to stay afloat."

“Employers can also find it difficult to keep track of the various qualifications of new employees on construction sites, to ensure they fully comply with the necessary regulations. This means safety officers can end up wasting valuable time chasing new recruits for their appropriate safety certificates.”

She pointed out that currently construction workers are required to hold a Constructions Skills Certificate, or a Safe Pass, but she said that the system is disjointed and lacks sufficient traceability. “This is having a negative impact on legitimate construction companies, which are trying to play by the rules but are finding it difficult to comply,” she said. “While most contractors are fully compliant with regulations, some are not.”

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The Government is once again investing in infrastructure, and signs of pick-up in the economy can be seen around the country, she said. “So now is the time to ensure all players in the construction industry are compliant with regulations and the necessary skills and safety requirements. A more robust site card containing regulation, qualification and compliance information would be an easy and effective way to deal with these issues. It would guarantee that all contractors are playing by the rules and that all operatives’ skills are up to date. The establishment of a centralised database could also make it easier for contractors and sub-contractors to ensure their employees and other companies they may be working with are up to date in terms of compliance.”

Noone said that she had discussed this issue with Tom Parlon, director general of the Construction Industry Federation, and that she hoped a more robust site card system can be progressed.

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