‘Construction Safety Week 2016’ launched

Minister for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen TD has launched ‘Construction Safety Week 2016’ (12th – 16th September) at an event held at the Health and Safety Authority’s HQ in Dublin today.

The annual event involves a series of week-long initiatives run across construction sites and offices nationally designed to highlight the importance of safety in the construction industry.

This year the the Construction Industry Federation (CIF)Health and Safety Authority (HSA), the Construction Safety Partnership Advisory Committee (CSPAC) and the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) have joined forces to produce a series of videos aimed at self-employed and small business employers involved in the construction industry.

The series of videos entitled ‘In the blink of an eye’ focuses on three construction workers (Peader, Robert and Shane) who,after experiencing serious workplace accidents, were treated at the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH). They discuss the effects of their accidents on them and their families, the journey through rehabilitation and how their lives have changed.

Also featured are medical professionals from the NRH who speak about the types of injuries they treat along with the physical, mental and financial consequences of a serious construction accident.

Speaking at the launch Minister Breen said: “I am extremely impressed by the bravery and honesty of these three men. They along with their families have opened up and told their stories in the hope that others would not have to suffer as they have. The overall message is powerful and clear, due to the nature of construction work, the consequences of accidents can be devastating to the injured party and to their family and friends. We will continue to work with the unions and the CIF to make sure that safety on construction sites remains a priority.”

Speaking at the launch Michael Stone President of the CIF said; “We tend to concentrate on fatalities when we consider workplace accidents and while these are the ultimate tragedy, there are about 600 construction non-fatal accidents reported to the HSA every year.  What’s often overlooked is the impact of the most serious of these accidents on the lives of those who experience them.  The ‘In the blink of an eye’ videos get behind the statistics to show that real people are involved and their families suffer too. Employee Safety and reducing workplace accidents are foremost for construction companies. Hundreds of construction companies have signed up with the CIF as partners and are running safety initiatives on site during Construction Safety Week. We have made huge progress on our safety journey. However, last year there were 11 fatalities and 605 reported accidents on construction sites. SMEs and sole traders still appear too often in the injury statistics.”

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Speaking at the launch Martin O’Halloran CEO of the HSA said; “These videos are hard-hitting and quite emotional in tone, we believe accident prevention is hugely important and these videos will make anyone think twice before taking unnecessary chances. Site inspections also play a vital part in the overall construction safety mix. This week we will be targeting 350 sites with an emphasis on safe work at height and advice for small contractors.”

Speaking at the launch Pat Kenny joint chair of the CSPAC said; “We know that one of the best ways to promote the importance of safety in any industry is to create peer-to-peer discussion. Anyone, particularly a small contractor or self-employed construction worker that sees these stories will recognise that one day it could be them involved in a serious incident. Our message is clear, don’t wait for something to happen, make site safety a priority today. ”

Speaking at the launch Professor Mark Delargy, Clinical Director of the NRH said; “With advances in modern medicine, the ability to save lives has increased but with that comes rehabilitation.  We try to help people rebuild and live their lives combining multiple therapies under four programmes: spinal cord injury, brain injury, POLAR (prosthetics) and paediatrics. I think that anyone that sees these videos will see how the journey through rehabilitation can be long, challenging and life changing.”

The videos can be viewed at; www.cif.ie/safety-week and will be available through social media channels throughout the week.