A new health and safety campaign aimed at increasing ‘Safety at Heights’ is being rolled out on construction sites throughout Galway. Falls from heights were responsible for 24 of the 42 construction related deaths that occurred in the last five years (57 per cent of all construction fatalities ) and a disproportionate number of these accidents have happened on small sites and maintenance type jobs.
As part of the campaign, attention grabbing posters will be displayed in Grafton Group hardware stores throughout Galway such as Chadwicks and Heiton Buckley. 15,000 leaflets will also be distributed in these outlets. The ‘Safety at Heights’ campaign is being backed by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA ), the Construction Industry Federation (CIF ), the Hardware Association Ireland (HAI ), the Construction Safety Partnership and is sponsored by Affinity Cover.
In the leaflets construction operatives and self employed craftsmen are encouraged to ask themselves a series of questions before undertaking work at height. These are:
— Have I thought about how I am going to do the job safely?
— Do I have to work at height or can I carry out the work at ground level?
— Have I got a safe working platform?
— Do I have safe and secure access to the work area?
— Am I using the right kind of work equipment?
— Is my work equipment in good working order?
— Have I received adequate training, information and supervision?
— Are the weather conditions safe to work at height?
Speaking about the campaign, CIF Director General Tom Parlon said, “This is an important initiative and we are encouraging small contractors and self employed craftsmen throughout Galway to fully engage with the campaign. ‘Safety at Heights’ is of paramount importance on construction sites.
“Too many accidents are occurring, particularly on small jobs involving repair and maintenance. Too many lives are being lost because people are not working safely in high locations at the moment. They are not using the correct equipment and are not following the correct practices.
“We want this campaign to reduce the number of accidents resulting from falls on construction sites and in the repair, maintenance and improvement section of this industry by getting construction personnel to stop and think before they undertake any work at heights. Hopefully the campaign will help cut the number of accidents and save lives,” he said.
Martin O’Halloran, Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority also backed the campaign saying, “The majority of fatal accidents that occur in construction involve working at height. A study of recent trends in the sector shows us that smaller sites, operated by small employers and self-employed craftsmen, are of particular concern. With any work activity that takes place at height, such as; working on roofs, on ladders or on scaffolding, the risk of a fall resulting in serious injury or death is increased. However those risks can be managed by making sure that the work is planned and organised with safety in mind at all times. We believe that this campaign will help to raise awareness of the dangers that occur when this does not happen.
"We all need to work together to reduce the number of accidents and improve safety at heights throughout the construction sector,” he said. The posters will be displayed in Grafton Group outlets in Galway and their Managing Director Eddie Kelly said, “We are delighted to participate in this important campaign which we hope will help improve workplace safety on Galway construction sites. This is a powerful and important message which needs to be communicated to construction personnel and we are happy to play a part in achieving that goal. Too many people are being badly injured or killed because the correct safety practices are not being followed when people are working on high locations. This campaign aims to reduce those numbers and help promote safer work practices on construction sites,” Mr Kelly concluded.
The campaign will run to the end of September.