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workplace safety

HSA to carry out safety inspection blitz on quarries

More than 50 quarries across the country will be inspected next week.

THE HEALTH AND Safety Authority (HSA) plans to carry out a workplace safety inspection ‘blitz’ on quarries next week.

The safety campaign will focus on the known causes of fatal incidents at quarries, such as machinery and vehicle safety issues.

Over the course of the week, inspectors from the HSA will carry out more than 50 quarry inspections across the country.

The authority said today that quarries are generally noisy, dusty places and some of the work can be very physical, making them a dangerous place to work.

Dr Sharon McGuinness, CEO of the HSA pointed out that six people have lost their lives in quarries since 2009 and many more have suffered serious, debilitating injury.

She said this is why the campaign next week is so important – “we need to get people home safely”.

McGuinness said the overall aim of the campaign is not to “catch anyone out” but she said employers, contractors and self-employed people in the sector must all understand that safety is their priority.

“Considerable numbers of traffic movements happen on a daily basis at quarries,” she 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. All vehicles must be kept in good condition, pre-checked on a daily basis, with particular emphasis on maintenance and testing of brakes.

Irish Concrete Federation chief executive, Gerry Farrell welcomed the safety blitz, commenting that next week is an opportunity for companies to review their safety procedures and implement new initiatives to enhance the safety and well-being of employees.

“I strongly urge quarry managers to review their operations this week with a view to managing the risk associated with vehicles and machinery,” he said.

“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 reduced.”

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