HSA Quarry Safety Blitz

HSA Quarry Safety Blitz

Two-week quarry safety blitz underway by Health and Safety Authority

A two-week workplace safety blitz on quarries is currently underway by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA). The Quarry Safety campaign from 1–12 March will focus on known causes of fatal incidents at quarries, for example machinery and vehicle safety issues.

Quarries are generally noisy, dusty places and some of the work can be very physical, making them a hazardous place to work. The theme of the campaign is ‘Vehicle and Pedestrian Safety in Quarries’ and during the campaign, inspectors from the HSA will carry out an inspection blitz focusing on these areas in quarries throughout Ireland.

Dr Sharon McGuinness, Chief Executive Officer of the HSA, urged employers to lead the way in delivering safer workplaces, saying: “Since 2011, four people have lost their lives in quarries and many more have suffered serious, debilitating injury which is why this campaign is so important – we need people to return home safely from work. The Health and Safety Authority remains committed to improving the safety, health and welfare of all persons involved in the quarrying industry and these inspections are a key part of that effort.

Dr McGuinness added: “We will also be using the campaign to advise and check adherence to the Work Safely Protocol, which provides the framework for employers and employees to work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in these workplaces.”

Welcoming the support from the Irish Concrete Federation (ICF) for the safety campaign, Dr McGuinness said that employers, contractors and the self-employed in the sector must all understand that safety is their priority.

She added that inspectors will be focusing on the management of essential safety, and the implementation of control measures to eliminate and reduce the risk arising from hazards in quarries.

Welcoming the Quarry Safety campaign, the representative body for the Irish quarrying and concrete manufacturing sector, the Irish Concrete Federation, urged the industry and representative organisations to step up the emphasis on safety issues by holding awareness training and providing relevant information. The HSA and ICF will present a series of online briefings for management, supervisors, safety representatives and safety officers on topical issues related to vehicle and pedestrian safety.

Backing the HSA’s quarry safety blitz, Irish Concrete Federation’s Chief Executive, Gerry Farrell, said this campaign was an opportunity for companies to review their safety procedures, together with their employees, and implement new initiatives to enhance the safety and well-being of all in the workplace.

“Notwithstanding the massive challenges presented by COVID-19, it is critical that our members remain focused on the fundamental safety risks associated with quarrying, which have not reduced during the pandemic. Therefore we greatly welcome the active support of the HSA for this campaign with its focus on vehicle and pedestrian safety in quarries”, Mr Farrell concluded.