Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris has announced that the government has approved the publication of the Construction Safety Licensing Bill 2022 which is intended to modernise and reform the existing accreditation model and provide for a licensing model for construction and quarrying activities.

Key features:

  • Safety awareness requirements and training for construction workers
  • Assessment will be skills-based with no distinction on the basis of environment
  • Approvals requirement for training organisations conducting certain reserved activities
  • Licensing model for construction workers based on an assessment of competence, to replace the accredited training model
  • SOLAS will be the licensing authority. As part of its remit, SOLAS will:
    • set standards to be met by relevant workers and tutors
    • monitor, evaluate and make recommendations to the Minister regarding implementation of and compliance with the relevant statutory provisions and best practice relating to safety awareness and skills competence 
    • grant, renew, issue and suspend licences
    • prosecute offences under the legislation
    • approve training organisations
    • maintain and publish a register of licensed tutors
    • appoint examiners
    • ensure that licensees undertake appropriate periodic training
    • assess applications for mutual recognition from EU member states and third countries
    • undertake/commission/collaborate/assist in research relating to the provision of construction activities, including the compilation of statistical information and other records
    • develop information and education campaigns aimed at improving safety standards among licensees
  • Offences for failure to hold the appropriate licence and associated offences for contractors and employers
  • The burden of ensuring that workers hold licences is placed on the contractor, who must give written confirmation of same to the Project Supervisor Construction Stage

In addition, the Bill is intended to 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, though the details of how this can be achieved remain to be seen. 

More detail on the Government announcement can be found here: gov.ie - New construction skills and safety standards reform Bill to be published by Minister Harris (www.gov.ie) 

We will continue to monitor developments and will provide a further update once the Bill is published.