HSE chief calls for more quarry firms to lead the way on safety
HEALTH & Safety Commission chairman Bill Callaghan has called for more quarry firms to put health and safety first and sign up to the industry's target to cut the number of injuries at work in half by the year 2005. The quarrying industry is one of the first to produce its own targets for reducing accidents and injuries at work, and the HSC is encouraging other sectors to follow its example.
In his keynote address to the Institute of Quarrying's annual conference in Bristol last month, Mr Callaghan said: 'Over the last five years 20 quarry workers have died, in addition to which around 150 major injuries and over 500 other injuries have been reported annually to the HSE over the same period. We know that quarrying is hazardous, but does it really have to be three times more so than the construction industry and 20 times more so than British industry as a whole? It can change and it must.'
He went on to praise the industry for leading the way by developing its own health and safety improvement targets and urged more firms to sign up to them. But he warned that having targets would not in itself result in progress unless they were backed up by tough action.
'I expect you to produce challenging, practical action plans setting out how you will achieve targets that have been discussed with and agreed by your workforce,' he said. 'Those who do not share this vision will find that the HSE's inspectors will continue to enforce the law vigorously.'
Mr Callaghan acknowledged a number of encouraging developments within the industry, particularly regarding the training and education of workers and safety representatives. He also appealed for larger companies in the industry to act as good neighbours to smaller firms, for example by inviting them to participate in safety seminars, workshops or training courses, as well as providing advice on risk assessments and hazards.
He then urged companies to involve their workforce in a partnership approach to improving health and safety standards.
'If you really believe your workforce is your greatest asset, then you will want to tap into their expertise in health and safety issues, so they have ownership of the solutions and so you can be confident that those solutions will actually work.'