The nuts & bolts of safety: CIF calls for a renewed focus on safer construction practices post Covid

by | Nov 4, 2022

The Construction Industry Federation is urging companies to refocus on traditional ‘nuts and bolts’ safety procedures, with Covid measures  now firmly established. Some 794 injuries were reported across construction last year, an increase of 4.3 per cent on 2020, according to Health and Safety Authority figures.

The calls comes following the launch of the CIF’s Construction Safety Week, which took place over the month of October to encourage companies to continue to prioritise their focus on safety.

“Construction companies across Ireland have been highlighting best practise in onsite safety with their workers,” said Dermot Carey, CIF Director of Safety and Training.

“Last year saw a slight increase in workplace accidents, which could be due to the important shift to Covid safety during the pandemic and an increased improvement in incident reporting.

“This year, we are underlining the need to double down on basic health and safety, to prevent accidents from occurring.”

CIF Director of Safety and Training Dermot Carey. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography

Construction Safety Week is a national awareness campaign aimed at promoting positive safety and health among Ireland’s 159,000 construction workers, clients and related industries.

Construction companies held ‘toolbox talk’ training events across the country to educate staff about workplace safety and highlight safety awareness initiatives under #CIFSafety22.

Slips, trips and falls

The top three causes of construction related accidents from 2017 – 2021 were: slips, trips and falls (702 incidents), lifting and carrying (560 incidents), and falling from height (519 incidents).

Construction Safety Week 2022 focused on five themes: safe access and egress, safe working at height, safe control of hazardous energies, safety by example and safe use of mobile equipment.

Dermot Carey said: “Working at height continues to be the greatest causal factor for fatalities and serious injury in construction, predominantly from relatively low heights, two to three metres above ground level.

“Roof work is high-risk with falls from or through roofs one of the most common causes of workplace death and serious injury. All work at height must be adequately planned, risk assessed and organised to avoid, or reduce risks.”

CIF President Frank Kelly

Construction Industry Federation President, Frank Kelly said: “Since the launch of Construction Safety Week in 2016, the Construction Industry Federation and its members have worked tirelessly to reinforce robust safety cultures within their organisations.

“We encouraged all construction companies to take advantage of the extended Construction Safety Week period and to get involved with some of the excellent initiatives taking place over the course of the campaign. As the focus begins to move away from the Covid-19 pandemic, now is an ideal time to re-double our efforts in the traditional safety space.”

Dermot Carey added: “The health and safety of every worker on-site is of paramount importance. Construction Safety Week has been a chance for the construction sector to work together to keep safety front and centre in our industry.

“It is an opportunity for employers and workers to collaboratively refocus on workers’ safety and well-being and to reaffirm commitments to plan and work safely. We are encouraging everyone in the industry, and support sectors, to get involved and think safety.”

To find out more about safety in construction go to www.cif.ie/safety-week

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