ISME urges businesses on 'duty of care'

Updated / Monday, 16 Oct 2017 12:36

Adam Maguire talks to Neill McDonnell, CEO of ISME, about what employers should be doing today

Businesses have been encouraged to make a plan and prioritise employee safety when dealing with today's ex-hurricane. Ibec has said that businesses should try to minimise employee movement today, while Dublin Chamber of Commerce has encouraged employers to remain flexible over the course of the day.

For its part ISME has said that employers have a duty of care to their workers under the law, and they must ensure there is a plan in place to get people home safely if they are required to work today.

Neill McDonnell, CEO of ISME, said it is important that employers ensure that if workers are required at their place of work that these workers can travel to work and get home safely. For businesses in more high risk areas - the construction industry, or working outdoors - that plan needs to be elevated and have a far higher bar of duty of care should be in place for those workers, Mr McDonnell said. Anyone operating high-sided vehicles should not be doing so during the dangerous period, he added.

ISME has closed its offices today and McDonnell said he expects the vast majority of business will also close up for the day. But the employers of first responders, the health service, ambulance and fire services, the defence forces and Gardai will all need their workers to attend work today as well as service providers such as the ESB to attend to householders' many and various needs today. "Life and limb are the most important and thereafter business are obliged to make safe arrangements and a safe system of work before they ask employees to come to work," he stated. 

Mr McDonnell said the issue of paying people if they do not come into work is unique to each company. He said that ISME is not in a position to give advice to people from an employer point of view. Some companies may be forced in to a "lay-off" system today, which he said would be regrettable. He said companies should check the terms of employment with their workers and should communicate the outcome to their staff as soon as possible and not on payday.

MORNING BRIEFS - Insurance Ireland has said that car insurance policies remain valid during today's code red weather warning, though damage caused by the storm will only be covered in the case of comprehensive car insurance policies.

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