Site shutdowns prompted by health and safety legislation, lawyer says

By Tom Lowe27 March 2020

hse

Health and Safety Act trumps government advice, Fenwick Elliott partner adds

This week’s widespread shutdown of building sites across the UK has probably triggered by contractors realising their insurance does not cover claims for breaches of health and safety law, a leading construction lawyer has said.

Jon Miller, a partner at law firm Fenwick Elliott, said firms were more concerned with complying with the Health And Safety At Work Act than the government’s social distancing advice to keep sites open as long as workers could keep 2m apart at all times.

https://www.building.co.uk/news/site-shutdowns-prompted-by-health-and-safety-legislation-lawyer-says/5105225.article

Latest updates on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Published: 28 March 2020
From: Department of Health

March 27

People urged not to leave their homes

The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and Minister for Health, Simon Harris, have issued strict guidelines for people to stay at home from midnight tonight (Friday).

The main rule is to STAY AT HOME. The only times you can leave your home are:

  • to travel to or from work if you are providing an essential service. [external-link https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/625292-updated-list-of-essential-retail-outlets-27th-march-2020/ | The full list of essential retail services is available here. A full list of essential workers will be published on Saturday morning]
  • to shop for food
  • to collect medical prescriptions and medical supplies and attend medical appointments
  • to carry out vital services like caring (including family carers)
  • for brief individual exercise – within 2 kilometres of your house. (You can bring children but must keep 2 metres away from others for social distancing)
  • for farming

Read more

3 deaths and 302 cases confirmed

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been informed that an additional three patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in Ireland have died. One person in the north-west of the country and two females in the east.

There have now been 22 COVID-19 related deaths in Ireland.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has been informed of 302 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.

There are now 2,121 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.

Read more

Health and Safety Authority.

With the schools closed and children at home, it’s vital that parents keep children safe and away from the dangerous areas on farms. Lots of useful guidance at https://www.hsa.ie/!AJNC5W Irish Farmers’ Association Teagasc ICMSA Macra na Feirme Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Irish Rural Link Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2806617146040533&id=109255715776703

Latest Guidance on Public Health Measures

Published: 24 March 2020
From: Department of the Taoiseach

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has recommended that all non-essential retail outlets close to members of the public. All other retail outlets are to implement social distancing.

Cafés and restaurants are limited to takeaways and deliveries only. All sporting events are cancelled – including those behind closed doors.

All theatres, clubs, gyms, leisure centres and hair salons are to be shut.

Places of worship are to restrict numbers visiting and no unnecessary travel should take place in the country or overseas, now or during the Easter break.

The Taoiseach said people need to stay at home and only leave to:

  • go to work
  • go to the shops for essential supplies
  • care for others
  • exercise

Read more at www.gov.ie

COVID 19 – Advice for Employers

https://www.hsa.ie/eng/news_events_media/news/news_and_articles/covid_19_%E2%80%93_advice_for_employers.html

The outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has evolved rapidly.  The Department of Health is leading the government response in Ireland to this national public health risk and is providing up to date information and advice on its website at:

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre HPSC is also providing advice for the public and for specific groups and settings including employers, healthcare professionals, education settings and religious settings.

Exposure to COVID-19 may present a health risk to workers and other persons at a workplace. Therefore, employers are required to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that an appropriate assessment of the risk for COVID-19 in their workplace is carried out. Suitable control measures should be identified and implemented to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infection. These measures should be communicated to all relevant employees and others at the place of work. 

Control measures will depend on the level of risk and type of workplace. For example, in workplaces where COVID-19 presents an occupational exposure hazard such as healthcare establishments, testing laboratories, immigration control etc., detailed biological agents risk assessments are required. These will need regular review and updating and will be based on current best practice in relation to infection prevention and control. Further information on employer duties under the Biological Agents Regulations is available here on the HSA website.

For other workplaces where there is a lower potential for exposure to COVID-19, employers should take into account the most up to date official advice and guidance from the Department of Health and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre on how to mitigate the health risk to employees and others at the place of work. This should also include measures advised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for work related travel.

Employees should follow the public health official advice and guidance including ensuring good hygiene practices, such as frequent hand washing and respiratory etiquette, to protect against infections and should seek professional healthcare advice if unwell.  The following video clip provides some useful advice:

For further advice see the HSA website at: https://www.hsa.ie/eng/news_events_media/news/news_and_articles/covid_19_%E2%80%93_advice_for_employers.html

Fianna Fáil’s O’Callaghan supports national govt idea

By Sandra Hurley

Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan has said that Fianna Fáil may have been too definitive in ruling out a government with Sinn Féin and said he would “go along” with the idea of a national government to deal with the coronavirus. 

Fine Gael TD Martin Heydon insisted a functioning government was in place and that there were daily meetings of the emergency committee dealing with coronavirus.

He said the Taoiseach would have no issue in talking to other leaders and there was already full dialogue between the Minister for Health and other health spokespeople. 

He also said that the Cabinet sub-committee dealing with Covid-19 would meet tomorrow to sign off on sick pay proposals and if emergency legislation was needed, the Dáil would reconvene.

People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith said that nobody regarded the current “caretaker government” as the real government and she said she expected it would listen carefully to proposals from employers’ body Ibec and the Construction Industry Federation on sick pay plans.

Sinn Féin health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly said there was an information deficit and party leaders needed to be called in to be involved in the information process and to understand the criteria for deciding on cancelling mass gatherings.

Read full article at:
https://www.rte.ie/news/politics/2020/0308/1120949-government-formation/