Industry warned of long-term damage from hazardous substances on sites

Day 4 of the Construction Safety Week 2018 campaign will focus on the health issues associated with working with hazardous substances.

Dermot Carey, Director Safety and Training, Construction Industry Federation (CIF) said: “Today’s focus on working with hazardous substances, is in line with our realisation that we need to be conscious of health as well as safety. Generally, substances used on site, if used correctly and with the appropriate precautions, are benign. But if they are not used in the correct manner they can cause long term damage. Take concrete for instance – probably one of the most common substances used on site – if used incorrectly and clothes get impregnated with cement, it can cause serious burns and allergic reactions. More recently, the dangers caused by exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica or RCS has come to the fore. Today we turn the spotlight on how to work safely with these common materials and how to protect the users, and those working close to you, from harm – visit to view a webinar on the subject delivered by Paul O’Shea of Ashview Consultants.”

Michael McDonagh, Head of Construction Policy with the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) said:  “Many workers across Europe are affected by exposure to dangerous substances. In recent decades some substances, such as asbestos, have been banned, restricted or subjected to strict regulatory control. However, dangerous substances such as Crystalline silica continue to be a major safety and health issue in many workplaces, particularly in the construction sector.

The Construction Industry needs to be cognisant of this area and promote a culture of risk prevention to eliminate and, where that’s not possible, effectively manage the many risks involving work with hazardous substances on sites throughout Ireland.

Today’s Construction Safety Week theme- Hazardous Substances- coincides with the Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2018-19, organised by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA)- ‘Healthy Workplaces Manage Dangerous Substances.'”

Architect and RTE star Dermot Bannon, who is lending his support to Construction Safety Week this year to drive home the 2018 theme- ‘Better Safety for Smaller Contractors,’ said: “Contractors working on domestic renovations face many difficult safety challenges. In addition to working within a tight site footprint, they have to ensure subcontractors and suppliers, who may only be on site temporarily, adhere to their rules. They also have to ensure that their clients- the homeowners- are safe when on site.”

“No matter what rules and processes are in place, construction sites are dangerous. If you are working on one, you are responsible for your personal safety and that of those around you. In turn, you should expect that those working around you are equally aware of your safety.”

“I see how high the standards are in Ireland, particularly when I get to work abroad. Our industry has a lot to be proud of, but as any Health and Safety Officer would advise, one should not get complacent and that is why Construction Safety Week is so important for the Irish construction industry.”

Construction Safety Week is an initiative of the Construction Safety Partnership Advisory Committee (CSPAC). This is a grouping of all the main stakeholders in the construction sector in Ireland – Employers, Unions, State Bodies (in conjunction with the Health & Safety Authority) and Professional Bodies.

Our collective objective is to continue to highlight the issues of health and safety in the Irish construction industry and to drive continual improvement.

Good health and safety depend on co-operation between all parties on a project – from client to designers and contractors – everyone’s safety depends on their co-workers or the person working beside you or above you.

The mission for this week is to re-focus on health and safety and it’s a call to action for companies of all sizes to run a safety event this week.

Construction Safety Week 2018 is sponsored by the Construction Workers Sick Pay Trust (CWPS), DRS Bond Management, Jacobs Engineering, Walls Construction, Glenveagh Properties, Collen Construction, Irish Water, Gas Networks Ireland and ESB Networks.

For more information see: , check out activity on @CIF_ireland or by using #CIFsafety18