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HSA launches national quarry safety campaign


Health and Safety Authority launches inspection campaign focusing on machinery safety

IRELAND’s Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is carrying out a two-week quarry safety inspection campaign commencing today [14 March]. The focus of the campaign is on safe machinery operation, machinery guarding, and maintenance activities.

According to the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI), there are approximately 500 quarry developments operating throughout Ireland. In the 10-year period 2012-2021, quarrying, mining, and the associated manufacturing activities in the industry accounted for 10 work-related fatalities in Ireland.


Over the next two weeks, HSA inspectors will be focusing on the key hazards that exist when operating quarry machinery or while carrying out machinery maintenance in quarries. Inspectors will also focus on ensuring that safe work practices and proactive measures are in place to reduce the risk of incidents, including serious or fatal injury.

The Authority is concerned at the high level of incidents that occur as the direct result of:

  • Unsafe machinery operation
  • Inadequate guarding or no guarding of hazardous moving machine parts
  • Lack of adequate risk assessments during maintenance activities
  • lack of proper isolation procedures during planned and unplanned maintenance.

On that basis the HSA inspectors will be seeking evidence of the following:

  • Routine inspection of machinery guarding
  • Routine inspection of emergency stops and emergency pull cords
  • Planned maintenance procedures and risk assessments for all planned and unplanned maintenance activities
  • The implementation of the outcome of risk assessments to ensure that these work activities are carried out safely, including ‘Lock Out/Tag Out’ systems
  • That employees receive information, instruction, and safety training relevant to the tasks that are undertaken
  • That equipment and machinery used in maintenance activity is suitable for the task.

Commenting on the launch of the campaign, HAS senior inspector Pat Griffin said: ‘Quarries and manufacturing plants within quarries are potentially hazardous workplaces due to the large and powerful machinery used on a daily basis. However, these risks are measurable and manageable, and we are asking employers to fulfil their duty of care to their employees, contractors, and any visitors to quarries.

‘As with any hazardous workplace environment, we urge employers to actively carry out risk assessments and put in place appropriate control measures, including safe ways of working. The outcome of these risk assessments must be communicated to all those involved in the work while ensuring they all receive instruction and safety training relevant to the tasks that are undertaken.’

During this campaign, HSA inspectors will be providing information, advice, and making employers aware of resources available to help them reduce the risk of incidents involving machinery, particularly during machinery maintenance.

The HSA, which continues to work closely with the industry and employer groups, says a number of initiatives planned for 2022 to address the issues that are the main causes of work-related injuries in Irish quarries.

For further information and resources on quarry safety, see the following HSA website links:


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