Focus on safe machinery operation, machinery guarding and maintenance activities at quarries across Ireland
IRELAND’s Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is conducting a two-week quarry safety inspection campaign which commences today, Monday 15 May. The focus of the campaign is on safe machinery operation, machinery guarding and maintenance activities.
In the 10-year period 2013-2022 quarrying, mining and the associated manufacturing activities in the industry accounted for eight work-related fatalities in Ireland.
HSA inspectors will be conducting quarry safety inspections focusing on the key hazards that exist when operating quarry machinery or while carrying out machinery maintenance in quarries and associated manufacturing premises.
Inspectors will also focus on ensuring that safe work practices and proactive measures are in place to reduce the risk of incidents, including serious or fatal injury.
The Authority is concerned at the high level of incidents that occur as the direct result of:
Unsafe machinery operation
Inadequate guarding or no guarding of hazardous moving machine parts
Lack of adequate risk assessments for all maintenance activities
Lack of proper isolation procedures during planned and unplanned maintenance.
On that basis, HSA inspectors will be seeking evidence of the following:
Routine inspection of machinery guarding
Routine inspection of emergency stops and emergency pull cords
Planned maintenance procedures and risk assessments for all planned and unplanned maintenance activities
The implementation of the outcome of risk assessments to ensure that these work activities are carried out safely, including ‘Lock Out/Tag Out’ systems
That employees receive information, instruction and safety training relevant to the tasks that are undertaken
That equipment and machinery used in maintenance activity is suitable for the task.
Backing the HSA’s quarry safety blitz, Irish Concrete Federation chief executive Gerry Farrell said: ‘Our upcoming Quarry Safety Week is aligned with this important HSA inspection campaign and it’s 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. It is critical that our members remain focused on the fundamental safety risks associated with quarrying throughout the year. Therefore, we greatly welcome the active support from industry on this campaign.’
Commenting on the launch of the campaign, Hilary Byrne, Senior Inspector with the HSA said: ‘As with any hazardous workplace environment, we urge employers to actively carry out risk assessments and put in place appropriate control measures, including safe ways of working. The outcome of these risk assessments must be communicated to all those involved in the work while ensuring they all receive instruction and safety training relevant to the tasks that are undertaken.’
She continued: ‘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, and we welcome the support from the Irish Concrete Federation for the safety campaign.’