NUI Galway wins HSA Third Level ‘Safety in Construction’ third level competition

A team of students from NUI Galway has won the Health and Safety Authority’s Safety in Construction competition, aimed at undergraduate teams from construction-related degree programmes in third level institutions.

The winning team was captained by Joe Brogan and other members were Alison Connolly and Matthew Burke. At the final held in the RDS (on Wednesday 5th March) six short-listed teams battled it out to win the first prize of Apple iPads.

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IT Carlow won the runners-up prize of €600 and all finalists received certificates of commendation.

The aim of the competition was to provide an environment where undergraduate students can collaborate and work together to enhance, develop and embed their knowledge and understanding of health and safety in construction. The competition brief asked students from different discplines to work together as a team within a Construction Management Company. They had to consider key aspects of repair works to a construction project – the fictitious St. Michael’s House, an institution that provides high support/assisted-living accommodation for persons with physical and/or sensory disabilities.

Various challenges had to be addressed including: designing a poster informing residents and members of the public of the hazards associated with the repair works, the submission of written work and drawings to illustrate how the various works were to be carried out safely and, coming up with an initiative to develop a safety and health culture amongst construction workers and contractors.

Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority, Martin O’Halloran said: “We can never allow complacency to enter the equation in the construction workplace. This competition gets construction undergraduates thinking and collaborating on safety before they reach the workplace. Working together to find solutions to the kind of safety challenges that construction professionals will come across every day in the workplace will help to keep the construction sites of the future safer places to work in.”

Chairperson of the Authority’s Third Level Education Group, Dr. Anne Drummond said, “We were delighted to see such a strong interest again this year from undergraduates and their lecturers. Encouraging teams from different disciplines in construction-related third level programmes to collaborate on real-life scenarios like this, reaps real benefits for the students. It helps them to learn about risk management in a very hands-on way where they can apply theoretical knowledge and principles.”

The judging panel was made up of the following members: Paraig Earley (Construction Policy Inspector, HSA), Mike Keyes (Aegis Safety, Safety in Design Consultant and Third Level Education Group, HSA) and Tony Sheridan (Health and Safety Manager, John Sisk and Son Ltd).