Health & Safety

Martin O’Halloran Chief Executive Officer, Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and Gerry Farrell, Chief Executive Officer, ICF.

The health and safety of the industry’s employees is a key priority of the ICF. Working in a quarry involves a number of common hazards and a proactive approach to identifying and mitigating the risk of accidents is critical to ensuring the safety of employees. ICF has been to the forefront in educating members on the importance of a safety culture within the working environment as well as identifying risks and advising on how to avoid accidents.

ICF works closely with the Health & Safety Authority (HSA) to improve safety in our industry. ICF meets regularly with the Authority and sits on the Quarry Safety Committee within the HSA. Both organisations co-operate particularly well in the area of education and regularly run joint events targeted at operators in the industry. The ICF’s health & safety committee produces regular safety bulletins for members on the key risks associated with working in quarries. In addition, ICF makes submissions on regulatory and training issues in the area of health and safety to the Health & Safety Authority and Solas.

The ICF health & safety committee is made up of safety professionals working in member companies. The committee regularly monitors and shares experiences of accidents, near misses and best practice thereby increasing knowledge and awareness within the industry.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and the Irish Concrete Federation (ICF) jointly promoted Quarry Safety Week 2016, which took place from Monday 24th – Friday 28th October 2016. The objective of Quarry Safety Week 2016 was to raise awareness of the key hazards which exist on a daily basis in operating quarries and to highlight some preventative measures which to reduce the risk of accidents and injury to staff in quarries.

During Quarry Safety Week 2016, the ICF health and safety committee prepared safety bulletins on five key quarry safety areas. In addition, HSA Inspectors conducted an intensive round of nationwide safety inspections during the week.

In 2016, the ICF and the Health and Safety Authority ran a series of regional safety workshops throughout the country. The presenters at the seminars were Mr. Jim Holmes of the Health and Safety Authority and Mr. Clive Kelly, member of the ICF health & safety committee. The seminars addressed issues such as accident statistics, key hazards, enforcement, training requirements, record keeping and best practice.

The All-Island Quarry Safety Seminar 2016 was held on October 18th in Armagh City Hotel, Co Armagh. This biennial event, was hosted by the Health & Safety Executive (Northern Ireland) and the Health & Safety Authority and supported by the Irish Concrete Federation and the Quarry Products Association (Northern Ireland). Presentations at the event addressed issues such as electrical safety, safety culture, guarding, worker health and dust monitoring. The afternoon’s session was chaired by Gerry Farrell of the ICF.

In 2016, the Health & Safety Authority (HSA), with the support of the ICF, carried out a Pre-Stressed Concrete Initiative which involved 11 HSA inspectors inspecting 22 Pre-Stressing locations.

In advance of the inspections, ICF hosted a workshop on the initiative where participants were briefed by the HSA on the purpose and the format of the initiative and the key areas to be inspected. ICF greatly welcomed the initiative and believes that it is a useful template for future safety initiatives.