SAFETY FIRST

THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY IS ON TRACK TO HAVE THE LOWEST RECORDED WORKPLACE FATALITIES THIS YEAR

According to the most recent Health and Safety Authority (HSA) report, there were two deaths in the construction industry in 2019. The report also cited 164 non-fatal workplace incidents in construction from January to June 2019. These numbers are declining year on year, with three fatalities and 278 non-fatal incidents recorded by the HSA during the same period in 2018. This trend has been led by construction companies implementing behavioural, technological and psychological practices to embed safety on thousands of sites around the country.

According to Dermot Carey, Director of Safety & Training at the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), the industry is striving to make 2019 the year with the lowest recorded work fatalities. “Any fatality is one too many. Every incident and fatality is analysed by construction companies to elicit learnings that are shared across the industry to improve safety. The research will show that the moment you feel safe on site is the moment you can become complacent, so construction companies will constantly remind workers through a range of channels and practices to think about safety and act safely.” Signs, warnings, toolbox talks and even accident re-enactments with actors are used to constantly remind workers of the importance of safety, says Dermot. “At an industry level, we will run our annual Safety Week campaign to drive home the safety message.”

The CIF recently launched its annual Construction Safety Week 2019 which is set to run from the 21st to the 25th of October. All 47,000 construction companies in the country are invited to participate and there’ll be a national ‘Stand Down for Safety’ to start safety week on sites across the country. The CIF has also teamed up with Rory O’Connor, more commonly known as Rory’s Stories, who has been conducting talks to construction workers around the country. Rory is very vocal about both physical on-site safety as well as awareness around mental health. He said: “Worker’s mental health is a silent safety issue for construction workers. There’s over 145,000 people working in the industry and the vast majority of these are men aged between 20-50. I believe it’s really important that they feel they can talk about mental health on site. I do believe mental health problems can lead to physical accidents on site by people not being in the right frame of mind.”

Read more in the July/August issue email catherine@mcdmedia.ie

Denise Maguire        
Editor of Irish Construction Industry Magazine

Email: denise@mcdmedia.ie