The INMO has called for urgent action on staff safety in light of record overcrowding during this year’s European Health and Safety at Work week.
The European Week for Safety and Health at Work is held annually in October with hundreds of awareness raising events taking place across the EU and beyond. The aim of the event is to increase awareness of occupational health and safety and the prevention of risks by both employers and workers.
During this week, the INMO has reported that the cumulative trolley figure for 2023 so far has exceeded 100,000 admitted patients waiting for beds, reaching this milestone earlier than any other year in history.
INMO General Secretary Phil ni Sheaghdha said
“EU safety week promotes the importance of active workplace safety and health, and this is a huge priority for our members, particularly coming into winter.
“The risks to nurse and midwife safety and health are diverse and include musculo-skeletal injuries, exposure to infectious diseases, mental health problems and the risk of assault. Unfortunately all of these issues are multiplied and exacerbated when staff are working in overcrowded understaffed environments.
“Events such as European Health and Safety at Work week are here to remind us that there are minimal international standards that we are supposed to be adhering to, and that the level of risk to staff safety currently being experienced in Irish hospitals is not normal and should not be accepted.
“We are once again seeing record overcrowding in our members’ workplaces, but the impact that this has on staff safety is wildly under-recognised, with nurses and midwives endangering their physical and mental health in order to care for their patients.”
“Not only are we calling for legislation to underpin the HSE’s safe staffing and skill mix framework in order to minimise overcrowding, we are now in the process of engaging with our members on how to proceed to ensure this level of risk to their health and safety doesn’t continue to worsen year after year.”