Employers in the construction industry are subject to a wide range of obligations.

'Employers need to be aware of the additional obligations they have when processing special category data and have appropriate procedures in place' says Deirdre Kilroy, Partner in the Technology and Innovation team at Matheson.

31st October, 2019

What's your name?

Deirdre Kilroy.

What position do you hold?

Partner in the Technology and Innovation team at Matheson.

What is your day to day responsibilities?

A key part of my role is helping clients navigate the application of privacy and data protection laws to their businesses and relationships. This involves advising on clients’ data protection issues in a wide variety of contexts, including the areas of employment, litigation, outsourcing, M&A and business conducted online. I also advise clients on how to model and conclude commercial contracts.

What is your professional background?

I completed my BCL and LLM at University College Dublin and then qualified as a solicitor. Since then, I’ve spent over 20 years advising in the areas of intellectual property, technology, and data privacy law. I regularly lecture in Ireland and internationally, including at the Law Society of Ireland. As a member of the Intellectual Property & Data Privacy Committee of the Law Society of Ireland, I sit on Technology Ireland's Data Working Group. I am a member of the INTA, IAPPI, and SCL.

Tell us about yourself away from work?

Although I have lived in Dublin for many years, I love the countryside and like nothing better than heading out walking at weekends.

Tell us something very few people know about you?

Bull Island is one of my favorite places in Dublin. There’s nothing better than walking the length of the beach on a windy day, and seeing what treasures the sea has washed up!

You are speaking at the 2019 CIF Health & Safety Summit. What are you speaking about?

I’ll be speaking about the General Data Protection Regulation and how that affects accident reporting obligations in the construction industry. Irish law places onerous obligations on employers to report accidents in the workplace, but employers must also ensure they process this employee data in a manner compliant with data protection law, mindful of the risks and liabilities that attach to this data.

What challenges do you see for health and safety in the construction sector?

Employers in the construction industry are subject to a wide range of obligations. They must ensure they are handling employees’ data – in particular, data relating to health – in compliance with their legal obligations. This is important for employers in this industry as there is a higher likelihood of accidents in construction in comparison to other workplaces.

Health data is considered ‘special category data’ under data protection law. Employers need to be aware of the additional obligations they have when processing special category data and have appropriate procedures in place. This may be particularly relevant in circumstances where they are obliged to provide such data to emergency services in the case of accidents in the workplace.

Where would you like to see health and safety in the industry in 10 years’ time?

I would like to see technology and innovation making it easier for employers of all sizes in the construction industry to achieve safety in the workplace, facilitating them to comply with their obligations in an effective manner.

Deirdre Kilroy is hosting a roundtable discussion at the CIF’s Health & Safety Summit, Nov 12 in Croke Park.

See www.cifsafety.ie

for details

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