Safety, Health and Wellbeing Calendar 2023
Quarter 3 (Jul-Sep) – Look Up, Down and Around
Health & Wellbeing
The CIF has developed a Safety, Health and Wellbeing Calendar for 2023 to address the key focus areas for construction for the forthcoming year. Building upon the success of the annual Construction Safety Week, the intent is to promote a high level of focus on essential site safety considerations, as perceived by the CIF Safety and Health Subcommittee. Additionally, the calendar endeavours to provide an itinerary of key diary events for each calendar month to reflect national and international campaigns for safety, health and wellbeing.
The CIF for its part will provide toolbox talk materials and/or videos for each topic, which may be downloaded from the webpage to assist in communications. Additionally, persons are encouraged to share any lessons learned / best practices in health and safety through the CIF’s dedicated platform: Lesson Learned / Best Practice in Health & Safety – Construction Industry Federation (cif.ie)
Excavations, Temporary Work
This month, the focus is on hazards associated with excavations and temporary works, including the dangers of working near underground or overhead services. Trenching and excavation are dangerous tasks because they pose the risk of cave-ins. Workers involved in trenching and excavation also risk falls from height, falling loads, hazardous atmospheres and working close to plant. For these reasons, extra precautions must be taken to only work in protected trenches.
In terms of health promotion, July is Sarcoma Awareness Month. Sarcomas are malignant (cancerous) tumours affecting bone, cartilage or soft tissues in the body. Circa 200 persons/year in Ireland are diagnosed with a form of sarcoma – Click here for more information.
Work At Height
Throughout August, the focus is on safe working at height, to include MEWPs, cherry pickers, scaffolding etc. Work at height continues to be the greatest causal factor for fatalities in construction, with most occurring at relatively low heights of 2-3 metres above ground level. The key messaging to ensure Safe Working at Height is to (a) undertake risk assessments for work at height activities, (b) follow the ‘General Principles of Prevention’, taking steps to avoid, prevent or reduce risks, (c) ensure work is planned, organised, and carried out by a competent person, and (d) choose appropriate work equipment and prioritise collective measures to prevent falls (such as guard rails and working platforms) before other measures which may only reduce the distance and consequences of a fall (such as nets or airbags) or may only provide fall-arrest (personal protection equipment).
Lifting & Loading
In September, attention is drawn to safe lifting and loading practices, to include use of mobile and tower cranes. According to Scott Hunter of the National Construction Training & Safety Ltd., “Any lifting activity requires a high level of competency of individuals, team-work and pre-planning. When used correctly on firm and level ground, and with a fully trained and competent lifting team, mobile cranes are also one of the safest items of equipment.” Additionally, safe lifting is as much about load preparation, load securing and transportation. Load securing for road transport is covered specifically by Road Traffic legislation, which requires that loads carried by vehicles must be properly secured at all times.
During September, we also recognise two important campaigns: Heart Month (see: How to keep your heart healthy) and World Suicide Prevention Day.
Member Toolbox Talks
July 2022 – Excavations & Trenches
“As a contractor, your company likely performs work that involves excavation and trenching. These tasks are extremely dangerous, and without proper preparation, supervision and control measures they can prove to be deadly”.
“Don’t allow an excavation or a trench to become someone’s grave”.
Peter Mulvihill, Health & Safety Manager, Clonmel Enterprises Ltd.
July 2022 – Temporary Works
“Temporary Works is an area of construction that workers aren’t always aware of, unless they are directly involved in it. It is important that everyone working on a construction site understands what Temporary Works is and report any elements of Temporary Work changes or defects to Site Management”.
Sinead Gaines, EHS Manager, P.J. Hegarty & Sons
August 2023 – Work At Height
“Unsafe and unplanned work at height practice continues to be one of the main factors behind work related fatalities in the construction industry each year. Personally I feel that with the correct planning and thought behind each task we can reduce this number and achieve our goal of ZERO work related fatalities. As an industry, if we follow the General Principles of Prevention for managing risks from work at height, implement and adhere to procedures, combined with risk assessing and carefully planning each task we can ensure that each and every person who enters our sites daily has the opportunity to return home to their loved ones. My role as a Health & Safety professional is to ensure this is possible.”
Gary Hutchinson, John Sisk & Son Ltd.
September 2023 – Truck Safety Awareness
“Be seen, be safe and stand clear of moving plant. Avoid being complacent whilst working around machines on your site. Remember the truck driver is the only person to operate the controls on their truck, so wait for their assistance and don’t interfere with the truck’s controls”
Paul Maher, Group H&S Manager at Kilsaran
CIF Member-only Content
Sample Lift Plan
21st September 2023 doc (230.50 KB)
CIF Management of Temporary Works Design
20th September 2023 pdf (5.28 MB)
CIF Guidance – Rescue from Tower Cranes
21st June 2023 docx (0.00 KB)
CIF Guidance – Interacting with Emergency Services
20th September 2023 docx (382.01 KB)
Other Member-only Content:
A selection of videos is provided, relevant to the focus areas.
Vehicle Safety Walk Around with Clive Kelly Safety Ltd – Excavator
Vehicle Safety Walk Around with Clive Kelly Safety Ltd – Forward Tipping Dumper
Vehicle Safety Walk Around with Clive Kelly Safety Ltd – Teleporter
Vehicle Safety Walk Around with Clive Kelly Safety Ltd – Mini Digger
Construction Safety Action Plan 2022-2024
ESB Networks New Code of Practice for Avoiding Danger from Overhead Electricity Lines
ESB Networks Safe Construction & Electricity
Tadhg Lucey, Director responsible for safety at BAM – Working Safely at Height #cifsitesafety
Working safety at height with Height for Hire for Construction Safety Week 2019
Load securing of construction plant and attachments with the HSA
Load Securing Methods – video 4 of 7 in series
Load Securing Introduction – video 1 of 7 in series
‘In the blink of an eye’ – Peadar’s Story
Outdoor Workers and UV risks – Be SunSmart
James Gorry Work Safe at Height CSW21
Construction Industry Helpline
Lighthouse Club – Construction Industry Helpline
Michael O’Connor on Safety
‘In the blink of an eye’ – Robert’s Story
Suir Engineering Live Services
AB Access Scaffolding Ltd. – Scaffold Site Audit and Do’s Don’t’s
CIF – Toolbox Talk – Managing Hazardous Energies
HSE – Health Information and Awareness Calendar 2022
HSE (UK) – Safe Use of Ladders and Stepladders
NASAC – Do’s and Don’ts on Scaffolds
National Cancer Control Programme – SunSmart Risk Assessment Tool
Links are provided to resources, which reflect the focus areas for the CIF for July, August and September of 2023.