Safety Week Schedule

23rd October – Safety at Height

Since 2009, 30 number of people have lost their lives in the construction industry as a result of falls from height.

In 2015 alone, 5 people lost their lives in this manner.

In this industry, falls are the biggest reason for fatal and serious accidents and therefore we should learn from this experience that any work at height needs careful management

Here are some key Messages

Before working at height you must first assess the risks and follow these simple steps:

  • avoid work at height where it is reasonably practicable to do so
  • where work at height cannot be easily avoided, prevent falls using either an existing place of work that is already safe or the right type of equipment
  • minimise the distance and consequences of a fall, by using the right type of equipment where the risk cannot be eliminated

You should:

  • do as much work as possible from the ground
  • ensure workers can get safely to and from where they work at height
  • ensure equipment is suitable, stable and strong enough for the job, maintained and checked regularly
  • not overload or overreach when working at height
  • take precautions when working on or near fragile surfaces
  • provide protection from falling objects
  • consider emergency evacuation and rescue procedures

Click here to download this poster and Safety Week logo.

Download “Dos and Dont’s on Scaffolds” here.

For more information, see the links to external resources below:

HSA work at height information
HSE work at height

24th October – Plant & Machinery

After falls, the most common reason for fatal or serious accidents in the construction industry are incidents with mobile plant and equipment.

Common to the use of all mobile plant and vehicles is the need to segregate vehicles from pedestrians, train staff to use the machines competently; and make sure that the machines are regularly inspected, serviced and maintained.

  • Excavators – Consider: exclusion, clearance, visibility, and the need for a signaller
  • Telescopic handlers – Consider: visibility (forward and rear), loading, ground conditions and speed
  • Mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) – Consider confined overhead working, ground conditions, outriggers, guardrails, arresting falls, falling objects, weather, handling materials and nearby hazards
  • Dumper trucks – Consider overturning and collision.

Click here to download posters and Safety Week logo.

For more information, see the links to external resources below:

HSA – Plant & Equipment Safety
HSE (UK) – Mobile Plant & Vehicle Safety

25th October – Occupational Heath – Dust

Crystalline silica is widely found in nature. Occupational exposure to crystalline silica dust occurs in many industries including: quarrying, mining, mineral processing (e.g. drying, grinding, bagging and handling) slate working, stone crushing and dressing, foundry work, brick and tile making, some refractory processes, construction and demolition work, including work with stone, concrete, brick and some insulation boards, tunneling, building restoration, pottery and ceramic industries.

Basically where concrete, stone or sand based materials are used, there is a potential for exposure to crystalline silica dust.

Key Messages:

Inhalation is the primary route of exposure to crystalline silica dust. For any kind of dust, there are different particle sizes. When dust is inhaled, its point of deposition within the respiratory system is very much dependent upon the range of particle sizes present in the dust. It is the respirable (smallest particle size) fraction of crystalline silica dust which is of critical concern for its health effects, since these can penetrate deep into the lung.

Inhalation of fine dust containing crystalline silica can cause lung damage (silicosis), which in severe cases can be disabling, or even fatal. Silicosis is irreversible and treatment options are limited. Workers may develop any of three types of silicosis, depending on the concentration of airborne silica:

• Chronic silicosis, which usually occurs after ten or more years of exposure to crystalline silica at relatively low concentrations.

• Accelerated silicosis, which results from exposure to high concentrations of crystalline silica and develops five to ten years after the initial exposure.

• Acute silicosis, which occurs where exposure concentrations are the highest and can cause symptoms to develop within a few weeks to four or five years after the initial exposure.

Recommended Control Measures

• Seek to substitute the silica containing material with a suitable alternative if possible.
• Use safe systems of work such as wet methods for dust removal/suppression.
• Engineering controls such as Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) or containment measures should be used where appropriate.
• Wear suitable PPE such as coveralls and appropriate gloves.
• Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) should either be a FFP3 disposable respirator or a P3 particulate filter fitted to a half or full face mask to provide effective protection and be CE marked. All RPE should fit the employee correctly.
• Any RPE worn should be properly fit tested.

Key Points

Always assume that exposure is likely to occur and protect according to the level of risk identified from risk assessment. Prepare written risk assessments (required by law) highlighting the key hazards, risks and controls in place. Use safe systems of work to reduce exposure based on the risk assessment. Use dust suppression techniques during work. Use of engineering controls such as local exhaust ventilation to control exposure can be very effective. Use and store personal protective equipment according to instructions to reduce exposure.

Click here to download this poster and Safety Week logo.

For more information, see the links to external resources below:

HSA – Crystalline Silica Dust Information
HSE – Construction Dust Information

26th October – Mental Health

Over the past 10 years, suicide and mental health have become two of the most important issues in Ireland. The culture around these subjects has started to change.

Unfortunately in the past too many people in Ireland sat in deathly silence while brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers were lost – ashamed that suicide had visited their doorsteps.

Thankfully, that stigma is beginning to lift. People are becoming more open about the issues of suicide and mental health. However if we want to help reduce the number of suicides and improve awareness of mental health issues then there are still massive strides to take.

This is especially true when it comes to helping the men of our nation. In Ireland the majority of people who die by suicide are men.

If we want to see a reduction in the number of suicides in Ireland then one of the steps that must be taken is to help promote further understanding and awareness of suicide and mental health amongst Irish men. Action is needed to help accomplish this objective. Irish men can be reluctant to discuss their problems and emotions with their colleagues and friends.

In modern Ireland, one of the remaining aspects of society which can still be disproportionately male are certain kinds of workplace. The workplace is a particularly influential environment, given the large amount of time people spend at work and in the company of their work colleagues.

No industry in Ireland is as male dominated as the construction sector.

According to the latest Quarterly National Household Survey from the Central Statistics Office, of the 116,700 people working in the industry, 108,300 are male. This means that men represent 93% of those employed in the industry.

Click here to download this poster and Safety Week logo.

For more information, see the links to external resources below:

Suicide Support – Pieta House
CIF & Construction Safety Partnership – Mind our Workers

27th October – Driving for Work

Over 14,000 road collisions between 2008 and 2011 may have been work related. The figures include as many as 4,672 vans, trucks and buses. A further 9,427 collisions involving private cars could also have been work related.

Recent research into road traffic fatalities during this period indicate that up to 23% were work related and 15% were workers.( https://www.iosh.co.uk/roadfatalities)

In the case of journeys taken in a vehicle provided an employer, such as a van, jeep or fleet car, an employer has a duty of care to ensure the safety of employees using the vehicle. Employers should have appropriate policies and procedures in place to ensure safety when employees drive a work-provided vehicle or drive their own vehicle for work.

Driving for work involves a risk not only for drivers, but also for fellow workers and members of the public, such as pedestrians and other road users. As an employer or self-employed person, you must, by law, manage the risks that may arise when you or your employees drive for work. Employers should have systems in place to ensure that Driving for Work activities are road safety compliant. Employers cannot directly control roadway conditions, but they can promote and influence safe driving behaviour and actions by their employees.

There is a raft of guidance available to employers and employees regarding driving for work. For more information, see the links to external resources below:

http://www.hsa.ie/eng/Vehicles_at_Work/Driving_for_Work/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUz0r5AkK6M

Click here to download this poster and Safety Week logo.