Thousands of expats returning to work in the recovering Irish construction face being turned away from sites because they don’t have the right paperwork, a Donegal-based expert has warned.
On-site Health and Safety expert Darren Donaghy, from Donaghy Safety Training Ltd, said there was a particular issue for workers coming home from the UK and Australia.
“Health and Safety must always be the on-site priority and it is vital that workers acquire the relevant and recognised certifications.
“Returning workers may be unaware of the changes to Irish work practices in the last decade or wrongly believe that certifications acquired overseas will automatically be accepted here.”
It is estimated Ireland’s construction industry is set to grow by 9% annually over the next three years.
The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) said that will spark a labour demand which could sustain an additional 112,000 jobs up to 2020
The CIF estimates over the next three years that the country requires 15,200 electricians, 7,800 bricklayers, 11,800 plumbers, 30,800 carpenters and joiners, 13,900 plasterers and tilers, 9,400 painters and decorators, 9,600 managers, 18,100 operatives, and 27,600 general labourers.
Mr Donaghy continued: “The construction sector growth will undoubtedly act as a catalyst for many people who are considering coming home to Ireland after spending the recession years overseas.
“All construction workers, including apprentices, are bound by law to hold a valid Solas Safe Pass. That affords everyone the required basic knowledge of health and safety that allows workers to work on-site without being a risk to themselves or others.
“Regardless of what certifications they have attained overseas, it is imperative this is in place. As with every required health and safety measure, this requirement acts to preserve life and limb and all workers in the industry must meet the standards,” he said.
Mr Donaghy said there is a further onus on site managers and supervisors to ensure all staff hold the appropriate health and safety qualifications.
For more information about the required Solas Safe Pass – a one day mandatory health and safety awareness training for all construction operatives – visit www.donaghysafetytraining.ie