New construction skills and safety standards reform Bill to be published by Minister Harris

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, has recently announced that the government has approved publication of the Construction Safety Licensing Bill 2022.

The Bill will modernise and reform the existing accreditation model and provide for a licensing model for construction and quarrying activities.

Speaking at the Construction Industry Federation conference, Minister Harris said:

“The Construction Safety Licensing Bill 2022, is a transformational piece of legislation designed to enhance the overall skills and knowledge, as well as to improve safety standards, for all those employed within the construction sector.

“We want to have a robust training system and to achieve that we need to build on existing arrangements and ensure that they reflect modern developments. The impact of this action is very significant for the construction sector.

“The Construction Safety Licensing Bill will be incredibly important for skills enhancement within the construction and quarrying sector in Ireland, and is a monumental step forward in ensuring a high standard of health and safety practices among our construction workers. It is crucial that we place our construction workers, and most importantly their safety at work, at the heart of the industry.

“I would like to acknowledge, with thanks the work undertaken by the CIF and their involvement to oversee and guide the establishment of the Licensing Authority.

“This is part of a number of reforms we intend to take over the next few months as we move SafePass online.”

These new arrangements are critical for the safe operation of the construction and quarrying sector, and will provide a sound legal basis for safety training and licensing.

The Bill will introduce a renewal process that construction and quarrying workers and tutors will need to undertake to ensure they are competent to work, and are upholding and maintaining health and safety standards. SOLAS, as the licensing authority will oversee this new process.

This licensing model is a key element in the department’s response to construction skills needs and meeting workforce requirements as outlined under Housing for All, the National Development Plan 2021-2030 and the Climate Action Plan.

In addition to this, the Bill will also play an important role in contributing to increased female participation in the sector and will ensure continued growth in public awareness of the diversity and scale of occupations and opportunities in the construction sector.

© Civil & Construction 2023