The Government has approved the publication of a bill aimed at modernising and improving safety standards in the construction industry.
The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science says that the bill will reform the current system of accreditation, and provide for a licensing model for construction and quarrying activities.
Minister Simon Harris described the Construction Safety Licensing Bill 2022 as a “transformational” piece of legislation.
“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,” he told the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) conference.
Licensing role for SOLAS
The bill will introduce a renewal process that construction and quarrying workers and tutors will need to undertake to ensure that they are competent to work, and are upholding and maintaining health-and-safety standards.
SOLAS, as the licensing authority, will oversee this new process.
The main features of this bill are:
- The introduction of safety-awareness requirements for workers in the construction sector,
- The establishment of a licensing model for workers, based on an assessment of competence, to replace the accredited training model,
- The introduction of skills-based assessment, with no distinction on the basis of environment, merging the assessment and licensing processes for construction and quarrying activities,
- A licensing regime for tutors,
- An approvals requirement for training organisations conducting certain reserved activities,
- The creation of offences for failure to hold the appropriate licence, and associated offences, for contractors and employers.
The Government also believes that introducing occupational recognition under a licensing model will raise awareness of the scale and diversity of opportunities in the sector, creating an opportunity to support increased female participation in the construction industry.