Dear Colleagues,

Please find below media link in relation to the HSE being fined €10,000 and costs of €13,000 due to four Health & Safety breaches which resulted in a serious assault of three nurses.

This very serious incident happened in August 2016 in the psychiatric unit in Navan. The Health & Safety Authority investigated the incident and prosecuted the HSE. The HSE pleaded guilty to the four breaches of the Health, Safety & Welfare at Work Act 2005

Four months prior to the incident in April 2016, the local PNA branch official highlighted concerns to senior management in relation to a significant increase in the incidents of assault and the presentation of a number of patients with challenging behaviour. These concerns were not addressed by the service and no measures were put in place to mitigate the risk. This was referenced on a number of occasions in the Court proceedings.

This ruling by the Court is very significant and is unprecedented as this is the first time the HSE Mental Health Services have been found in breach of the Health and Safety and Welfare Act 2005.

This case highlights the legal responsibility of employers to provide a safe place to work and emphasises the need to alert senior management when staff believe they are not being provided with a safe place of work.  

HSE Management have a responsibility to address concerns of staff in relation safety of the workplace and should measures not be put in place to mitigate the risks identified staff have recourse to refer the matter to the Health & Safety Authority.

We continue to advice all branches, especially in light of this ruling, to be prudent and highlight all health and safety concerns in writing to management.


Yours sincerely

Peter Hughes

General Secretary

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