First publishedon www.AggBusiness.com
Gerry Farrell of the Irish Concrete Federation and the HAS's Dr Sharon McGuinness
A workplace 'safety blitz' is being carried out on quarries in Ireland this week by the country's Health and Safety Authority (HSA).
The Quarry Safety Week campaign from September 9-16 is focusing on the known causes of fatal incidents at quarries, such as machinery and vehicle safety issues. HSA says quarry work can be very physical, making them a dangerous place to work.
Dr Sharon McGuinness, CEO of the HSA, urged employers to lead the way in delivering safer workplaces. “Since 2009, six people have lost their lives in quarries and many more have suffered serious, debilitating injury," she said. "That's why Quarry Safety Week is so important – we need people to get home safely."
Welcoming the support from the Irish Concrete Federation for the week, she said employers, contractors and self-employed in the sector must all understand that safety is their priority.
Insisting that the overall aim of the campaign is not to catch anyone out, Dr McGuinness said inspectors are focusing on the management of safety and the implementation of control measures to eliminate and reduce the risk arising from hazards in quarries, which are essential in keeping workers safe.
“Considerable numbers of traffic movements happen on a daily basis at quarries," McGuiness said. "These involve very large quarry vehicles with limited visibility increasing the risks to workers, pedestrians and visitors of being struck.
“To ensure safety at quarries, it is paramount that the control of quarry vehicles is a high priority focus for quarry management and quarry workers."
She added that all vehicles must be kept in good condition, pre-checked on a daily basis, with particular emphasis on maintenance and testing of brakes.
Inspectors are monitoring such activity on the ground during the week beginning on Monday, September 9th, as well as looking out for safety breaches.
The HSA inspectors are seeking evidence of the following: all drivers of loading shovels and dumper trucks must be competent and hold the relevant Quarries Skills Certification Scheme(QSCS) cards; the quarry has an appropriate and implemented traffic management plan; the quarry has identified any risks to pedestrians and visitors and have appropriate controls in place; operators carry out regular brake testing of quarry vehicles; operators have a designated brake testing area; vehicles have appropriate visibility aids and high visibility clothing is worn by workers and visitors.
Irish Concrete Federation chief executive Gerry Farrell said the safety week is an opportunity for companies to review their safety procedures and implement new initiatives to enhance the safety and well-being of all employees.
“I strongly urge quarry managers to review their operations this week with a view to managing the risk associated with vehicles and machinery," said Farrell. “Safety, however, must remain a priority all year round and with everyone’s efforts, the level of fatalities and serious injuries of the past can be significantly."