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HSA begins Irish quarry safety blitz

Health and Safety Authority

This week sees the start of a two-week inspection campaign focusing on vehicle and pedestrian safety

THE Health and Safety Authority (HAS) will be conducting a workplace safety blitz at quarries throughout Ireland over the next two weeks. The campaign, which runs from 1–12 March, will focus on known causes of fatal incidents at quarries, such as machinery, vehicle and pedestrian safety issues.

Inspectors will focus on the management of essential safety and the implementation of control measures to eliminate and reduce the risk arising from such hazards in quarries.

Urging employers to lead the way in delivering safer workplaces, Dr Sharon McGuinness, chief executive officer of the HSA, said: ‘Since 2011, four people have lost their lives in [Ireland’s] quarries and many more have suffered serious, debilitating injuries, which is why this campaign is so important.

‘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.’

Backing the HSA’s quarry safety blitz, Gerry Farrell, chief executive of the Irish Concrete Federation (ICF), said the 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.

Urging the industry and representative organizations to step up the emphasis on safety issues by holding awareness training and providing relevant information, he said the HSA and ICF would present a series of online briefings for management, supervisors, safety representatives and safety officers on topical issues related to vehicle and pedestrian safety.

‘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,’ said Mr Farrell.

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