Independent Senator Sharon Keogan today spoke about the need to change the Safe Pass system, which will go online in October.  

The Safe Pass system was introduced following a finding by Mr. Justice Richard Humphreys that SOLAS is not entitled to impose a condition on the renewal of registration cards.

Speaking in the Seanad Chamber during Commencement Matters, Senator Keogan said, “Safe Pass has become the quintessential example of bureaucratic red tape- a system which has become engorged on self-importance, and is now treated across the nation as a prerequisite for anyone even thinking about entering a building site.”

The course includes lessons such as how to lift from the knees, not from the back and don’t do a two-person job solo.

She added, “Minister, this system has barely been updated since its inception, and there is something wrong with it. It is simultaneously the laughing stock of the construction industry and the bane of its existence to think that a seasoned construction worker needs to be reminded of safety fundamentals every four years is absurd. If you insist on holding it, at least let them take it online.”

Senator Keogan described how this practice is commonplace across the construction industry.

She continued to say, “If it was just the Safe Pass, perhaps it could be let slide…but it seems that every year new safety courses are being dreamt up, and new cards required to do anything on site.”

Senator Keogan concluded by asking, “My question to you, Minister is what is being done to implement this ruling? When can we expect to see the meaningful change that’s due to take place in this area?”

Minister Simon Harris responded to Senator Keogan saying, “A key distinction between Safe Pass and CSCS/QSCS cards is that the latter two carry QQI certification, and as such, Mr Justice Humphreys ruled that they were not depended upon post-award ongoing experience, self-certification, auditing or continuing assessment…and later this year [in] [October] we will move the Safe Pass registration process online for the first time.”