Dáil Question to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

19/10/2012

To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if there are any health and safety regulations in place for sports clubs nationwide to prohibit the use of dangerous chemicals to line pitches such as lime, petroleum products and so on; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Reply

My Department is responsible for legislation governing workplace health and safety and the Health and Safety Authority, which operates under the aegis of my Department, is the national statutory body with responsibility for enforcing and investigating alleged breaches of that legislation. The Authority has workplace inspection programmes in place, and insofar as a sports club would be a workplace such clubs would be liable to inspection under health and safety legislation.

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 places a responsibility on all employers to ensure the safety, health and welfare at work of their employees. In meeting this responsibility, employers must identify hazards at the place of work and carry out an assessment of the risk presented by any such hazards. Following a review of this assessment the employer is required to implement appropriate steps to bring about any necessary improvement to the safety, health and welfare at work of their employees.

In relation to chemicals such as lime or petroleum products, there are no specific occupational health and safety Regulations that provide for the prohibition of such chemicals. However, health and safety information on chemicals can be found on product labels in line with the EU’s Classification, Labelling and Packaging of chemicals Regulation (1272/2008). Under that Regulation, if the chemicals are classified as hazardous, then a Safety Data Sheet must be provided to professional users at work and must be prepared in a format set out in the EU “REACH” Regulation (1907/2006).

“REACH” provides for the uses of some hazardous chemicals to be prohibited or restricted across Europe so as to protect human health and the environment. However, there is no specific restriction on the use of lime currently under “REACH”. In that regard, specific details of the chemicals used would need to be checked against the technical Annexes of the “REACH” Regulation. Chemicals such as plant protection products and biocides are also regulated and controlled by specific legislation.

If the Deputy has concerns regarding the safety of a particular industrial chemical he should contact the Health and Safety Authority Helpdesk (Tel: 1890 289 389 or chemicals@hsa.ie). Furthermore, if the concern relates to a pesticide or biocide then contact should be made with the Pesticide Registration and Control Division of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.