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Construction Workers Down Tools to Kick off National Safety Week #Cifsafety17


Baz Ashmawy and his mammy Nancy feature in a ‘Five Ways to Save your Mammy On Site’ awareness campaign


The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) is launching its #CIFsafety17 Construction Safety Week campaign today, Monday 23 October.

Construction workers across Ireland will down tools for one minute to mark the beginning of Construction Safety Week. The campaign aims to raise awareness about site safety, particularly amongst the thousands of small contractors operating in the industry.

To mark Construction Safety Week, the Health and Safety Authority has released statistics on construction accidents.

Number of fatal accidents in construction decreasing

The number of fatal accidents in construction decreased by 43% between 2004 and 2016.

Due to the nature of the work and the huge number of employees (circa 140,000), the industry has a high volume of absolute workplace accidents. However, injuries have decreased over the last decade from 837 in 2004 to 333 in 2016 – a decrease of 60%.

Over 99% of companies in the industry are SMES, and most victims of accidents are small contractors and self-employed.

There were five fatal falls from height in 2016. All involved small contractors or self-employed construction workers. The next most common cause of fatalities in construction in 2016 was the loss of control of equipment.

Slips and falls are the main cause of non-fatal accidents (32% in 2016) with lifting or carrying the next most common cause of non-fatal injury (24% in 2016).

Over the past 12 months, eight people have died as a result of accidents on Irish construction sites.

50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy On Site

Broadcaster Baz Ashmawy of the Emmy Award-winning TV show 50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy and his mother Nancy, will feature in a series of safety videos that will air on CIF social media channels and will be shown on construction sites around the country throughout the week.

Tom Parlon, CIF Director General

“Construction Safety Week allows us to redouble efforts on improving health and safety as our industry recovers. The very nature of construction work means that the potential for an accident is always present. Complacency can be a killer,” says Tom Parlon, CIF Director General.

“Thankfully, our industry places a major emphasis on safety training and effective safety management procedures. Safety is something that our industry takes very seriously and this week is about raising awareness by celebrating the efforts of our members to promote safety. This year, we are focussing on smaller contractors, and I’d call on all construction companies, SMEs in particular, to stand down for safety for one minute on Monday and participate in Construction Safety Week activities.

“As our industry continues to recover, we are hiring an additional 1,000 workers per month for the last 50 months. We have a responsibility to constantly refresh awareness of health and safety on site to make sure new employees entering the industry have the knowledge and skills necessary to keep safe and well.

“This Construction Safety Week, we want to get the message out to everyone to stay safe on- and off-site and to look out for friends and colleagues. I’m particularly proud that many of our members are focussing on mental health this year. I think that we as an industry, need to be more aware of mental illness and look after our colleagues more – a quiet word of support is all it takes.”

Martin O’Halloran, CEO, Health and Safety Authority

“Consistently falls from a height are one of the main causes of death and injury in the construction sector,” says Martin O’Halloran, CEO of the Health and Safety Authority. “Even falls from relatively low heights of three to four feet can be fatal. If it is not possible to avoid working at height, then it is important to make sure that the work is planned, organised and carried out safely. Suitable equipment should be used, and methods should be in place to prevent falls, such guard rails or working platforms. These principles apply regardless of the size of the build or the height where work is being carried out.”

Martin O’Halloran also spoke about why small contractors, or self-employed construction workers, are more likely to have an accident:

“They may be less safety conscious; there may be less supervision and self-employed people may be more willing to take risks. While we recognise the mind-set, we also know that it is self-defeating. You can’t earn a living if you are seriously injured or dead and that is a reality that many families have to face each year.”

Dermot Carey, Director Safety and Training

“While safety standards within the Irish construction industry are excellent and improving all the time, complacency can undergo’” says Dermot Carey, CIF Director Safety and Training. “There are plenty of new workers coming into the industry at the moment, and HSA/ESRI research shows that new, inexperienced workers are more likely to have an accident.”

Construction Safety Week will take place from Monday 23 to Friday 27 October, with construction companies across the country running hundreds of activities in offices and on sites throughout the five days, focusing on the following daily themes:

  • Monday 23 October: Working at Height
  • Tuesday 24 October: Plant and Machinery
  • Wednesday 25 October: Dust
  • Thursday 26 October: Mental Health
  • Friday 27 October: Driving for Work

Construction Safety Week sponsors include the Construction Workers Sick Pay Trust, ESB Networks, Collen Construction, Grafton Merchanting ROI and Brooks Group.


For more information and to learn more about the ways you can get involved visit:

www.cif.ie/safety-week #CIFsafety17