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21/10/2019

Construction Safety Week Kicks Off

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Construction workers across Ireland are set to 'down tools' for a minute this week to highlight safety on sites.

This will form part of Construction Safety Week, an initiative of the Construction Safety Partnership Advisory Committee (CSPAC) to raise awareness.

The committee will look to use this week as an opportunity to highlight the issues of health and safety in the Irish construction industry and to drive continual improvement.

Construction firms across Ireland have been urged to run a safety event this week to mark the initiative.

This week-long national campaign comes following the recent figures released by the Health and Safety Authority which show construction worker fatalities have decreased by almost 50% since 2015. The HSE revealed six people have lost their lives in construction related activity over the last 12 months (October-October).

Explaining further about Construction Safety Week, Dermot Carey, Director Safety and Training, Construction Industry Federation (CIF) said: "As for previous years, Construction Safety Week represents an opportunity for the industry to share and to celebrate best practice to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of all workers. Whilst the campaign extends for one week (Monday through Friday) and covers five strategic topics, the goal is for individuals and companies to re-affirm their commitment to safe and healthy work practices and to strive for continual improvement for the present and future. The CIF is heartened by the large number of companies that have signed up as Partners of Construction Safety Week 2019 and planned an array of activities during the week. The CIF is calling for all construction companies, no matter how big or small to get involved in Construction Safety Week 2019, to engage with workers and to strive for safer and healthier projects for the benefit of all. I would like to acknowledge the support provided by this year's sponsors, including: Walls Construction, Collen Construction, SSE Airtricity, Irish Water, Hilti, IOSH, Keating Construction, Gas Networks Ireland, Kirby Group Engineering and ESB Networks."

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Comedian and YouTube star Rory O'Connor is also lending his support this year to drive home the importance of Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Rory O'Connor, CIF Safety Ambassador, commented: "Worker's mental health is a silent safety issue for construction workers. There's over 145,000 people working in the industry and the vast majority of these are men aged between 20 and 50. I believe it's really important that they feel they can talk about mental health on site. I do believe mental health problems can lead to physical accidents on site by people not being in the right frame of mind.

"I've been doing lots of Toolbox Talks about safety and mental health around the country and these have gotten a great response. I've had people come up to me after the talks and tell me their own stories, as well as messages on social media from people talking about their own stories, thankful that I am raising awareness of looking after your mental health. I do believe the stigma is starting to breakdown, but people need to understand that it is okay to talk about it with each other. When people think of safety on construction sites or in the construction industry, they think of hard hats, high vis jackets, glasses and gloves, but no one actually thinks about the person's own mental health, which is obviously hidden to everyone.

"The key message we want to spread is of positive mental health and to let construction workers know it is okay not to feel okay. It's perfectly acceptable to open up and ask for help."

To learn more about Construction Safety Week, visit: cif.ie/safety-week.

(CM)

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