The HSA (Health and Safety Authority) has issued a draft document outlining proposed amendments to Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) (Amendment) Regulations 2018.
The purpose of these Regulations are as follows;
- To make specific provisions in relation to the expiry of SafePass cards and requirements for renewals.
- To amend the references to the Safety Awareness Scheme following the dissolution of FÁS and the establishment of SOLAS as the agency of the State responsible for the management of that scheme
- To change any other references to FÁS to SOLAS and similarly change references to FETAC to QQI following the establishment of the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI).
Recently a High Court case was taken against SOLAS challenging their right to require retraining or reassessment for their Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) training. The challenge was based largely on the fact that no specific requirements for retraining or reassessment are contained in the SHWW (Construction) Regulations 2013. The challenge was successful and SOLAS have now removed the requirements for retraining and reassessment when renewing CSCS training cards.
The objective of this amendment is to provide a statutory basis for the requirement to renew SafePass cards through training / re-assessment every four years. Under the proposed amendments the requirement for the issue of a valid safety awareness registration card are successful completion of any one of the following within 4 years preceding application for same:
(a) the SOLAS Safe Pass training programme
(b) an equivalent safety awareness scheme approved by SOLAS
(c) an equivalent safety awareness scheme
The draft document is available at the following link – Draft Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction)(Amendment) Regulations 2018.
Safe Pass is a safety awareness training programme for construction workers. It is a one-day programme that allows them to work on construction sites without being a risk to themselves or others. Employers are required by law to ensure that employees on construction sites carry Safe Pass cards. As a result, employers must ensure that all employees are properly trained.
The Safe Pass programme is operated and managed by SOLAS and aims to:
- Raise the standard of safety awareness in the construction industry.
- Ensure that all construction site workers undergo basic health and safety awareness training to prevent accidents and avoid health hazards.
- Maintain a register of personnel who have completed the Safe Pass programme.
- Provide all Safe Pass participants with a Safe Pass registration card to confirm that the holders have attended a formal course in health and safety awareness.
All workers in the construction sector, including apprentices, trainees and on-site security workers, must have received safety awareness training and have a Safe Pass registration card before they can work on construction sites.
Every contractor (or other person working on their behalf) is required by law to ensure that everyone under their direct control on a construction site has received Safe Pass training and has been issued with a current Safe Pass registration card. Under health and safety legislation, employers are required to allow their employees paid time off from work to attend safety awareness training.
There are FAQs about the Safe Pass programme on the Health and Safety Authority website.
Content of the Safe Pass programme
The training modules in the Safe Pass programme are:
- Site safety, site safety legislation and site accident reporting.
- Introduction to risk assessment.
- Risk assessment for working at height, working with electricity and when excavating.
- General site safety, including the use of construction equipment and the safe use of vehicles.
- Personal safety, using personal protective equipment, working with noise and vibrations, manual handling and personal health and welfare.
Generally the employer pays for the one-day Safe Pass course. Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005, employers must allow employees’ paid time off from their duties for safety awareness training.
You are not required to reimburse your employer for the cost of the course if you leave your job, (unless you have signed something in your contract of employment stating you will reimburse any training fees incurred before you have given a certain period of service).
If you are unemployed, and have been offered a job on a construction site but need to have a Safe Pass Card before you start work, your local Intreo Centre may be able to help with the fee for the training.