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The Law


Quarries Regulations

Guide to Quarries Regs

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Quarries) Regulations 2008 (Quarries Regulations) emphasise the management of health and safety. Responsibility rests with quarry employees, managers and supervisors. The Quarries Regulations require the management of all quarry operations including tips, lagoons and stockpiles, quarry faces (working and disused), boundaries, haulage roads, plant, equipment and blasting operations.

The Health and Safety Authority (the Authority) in consultation with industry stakeholders have published the Guidelines to the Quarries Regulations to assist quarries.

The Quarries Regulations is the only sector specific legislation for occupational safety and health for quarries and is a consolidation and modernisation of previous legislation. That said, the Quarries Regulations must be considered along with the Safety, Health and Welfare At Work Act, 2005 (the 2005 Act) and its General Application Regulations 2007. Many other regulations, while not sector specific, may also apply to quarrying and associated manufacturing activities.

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Inspection Forms

  • A daily inspection record must be prepared according to the operations at the quarry. A sample checklist and report form is shown at Page 28 of the Guidelines to the Quarries Regulations. It is a model which should be tailored to the needs of a particular quarry. It is not intended to be used exclusively as it is presented

Inspection form01


  • A Periodic Inspection Form must be prepared according to the operations at the quarry. A sample checklist and report form is shown at Page 30 of the Guidelines to the Quarries Regulations. It is a model which should be tailored to the needs of a particular quarry. It is not intended to be used exclusively as it is presented

Inspection form02

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Notifications required

Under the Quarries Regulations each quarry location must notify the Authority on an approved form (see page 14 of the Guidelines to the Quarries Regulations) of

  • Appointment or changing of the Quarry Operator,
  • Commencement Permanent Cessation of Quarrying Operations - must include the name, address, telephone and fax number of the operator, the name and address including Ordnance Survey grid references, a brief description of the quarry, the mineral to be extracted and the date when extraction is to start/finish


Notification should be posted, or sent by fax to

The Health and Safety Authority
Metropolitan Building
James Joyce Street
Dublin 1

Operators should also notify the utility companies (such as the E.S.B ) of any changes. Delays have occurred during emergencies when the power to a quarry needed to be isolated, but the name for the quarry used by the quarry personnel and the electricity supplier was different from that notified.

When a quarry closes, any remaining excavations or tips must be left in a safe condition. In the case of abandoned tips, the notification needs to include the information gathered through geotechnical assessments.

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Training Requirements

Under the 2005 Act all persons at work must receive adequate training to ensure they can carry out work assigned to them in a safe manner. This general training requirement and particularly induction training is an immediate requirement under the 2005 Act and Quarries Regulations.

The "Operator" must be able to demonstrate that all persons working at the quarry have received adequate training for work assigned to them. The Quarries Skills Certification Scheme requires persons involved with Schedule 1 (pdf, 64KB) activities to hold a registration card as proof of training.
The Quarries Skills Certification Scheme does not have an equivalent basic safety awareness training commonly referred to as Safe Pass Training. There is no requirement to have a Safe Pass card to work at quarries unless one is undertaking construction work at the quarry.

Quarry Passport, often confused as Safe Pass is a scheme independently introduced by some operators in the sector. This is not a legal requirement but may be set as a basic requirement for contractors by quarry operators. However such training in safety awareness is generally supported by the Authority

All categories of workers to which QSCS applies are required to have training and hold a QSCS card. Contractors must have QSCS when they enter a quarry. There is no requirement for persons going for QSCS training Cards to have a safepass course done. Schedule 1 of the Regulations set out the list of tasks that require QSCS, if a category of plant is not mentioned then QSCS is not required.

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Health and Safety Authority Inspectors are very active in this sector and plan 200 inspections of mines/quarries in 2012. The emphasis of quarry inspections is management of health and safety, and Inspectors assess compliance in relation to

  • Notification to the Authority has been notified of the "Operator of the quarry"
  • The competence of the manager and any health and safety training they have received
  • The site-specific safety statement with risk assessments
  • Daily inspections by a competent person of all active quarry faces and fixed and mobile plant
  • The operation of the quarry in a safe manner, especially stability of quarry faces and the safety of haul roads, ramps and other excavations
  • Adequate site-specific blasting procedures, including detailed shot-firing rules
  • All mandatory appointments for blasting operations, particularly a competent explosives supervisor and shotfirer
  • Mobile plant is maintained and brake testing has been carried out
  • All vehicles have the necessary reversing aids such as mirrors, reversing sirens, flashing beacons and CCTV systems
  • Traffic routes managed with well-maintained haul roads, bunding and edge protection, clear directional signage and reversing minimised. Inspectors actively encourage the introduction of one-way traffic system
  • Pedestrians segregated from transport routes where possible, and high visibility clothing provided and worn
  • The inspection of fixed and mobile plant by a competent person to ensure that all tail drums, idler rollers, head drums, screw conveyors and drive systems are guarded and that all necessary emergency stops, pull wires and isolation systems are present and operational
  • Boundaries protected to prevent inadvertent access to lagoons, settling ponds and quarry benches and any areas that are not in use. In particular the Inspector will check that the Quarry Operator has measures in place to prevent inadvertent or unauthorised access, and that necessary signage and rescue equipment is in place

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Promotional Activity

The Health and Safety Authority (the Authority) has established a Quarries Safety Steering Committee to work with industry to promote health and safety in the quarrying industry. The committee was essentially established to review the regulatory base and develop appropriate guidance and assist in targeted actions to reduce the rate of fatal and non-fatal incidents in the sector.

The Authority holds inspection and awareness campaigns in addition to industry initiatives to improve awareness and safety performance. The Authority also assists the steering committee in holding a National Quarries Safety Seminar on an annual basis.

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Quarry Safety Videos

The Quarry Safety Series was prepared by the Authority with Roadstone Dublin Ltd. Videos show how each operation could be carried out safely and how easily and tragically each operation can go wrong without correct procedures. These videos are accompanied by a Tool Box Talks guide.

Conveyor videosVideo showing a simulated accident with a conveyor not properly isolated (42 seconds)
Video showing proper isolation of a conveyor (1 minute, 41 seconds)
Fixed Plant
Fixed Plant videosVideo with fixed plant not made safe before maintenance showing a simulated accident (1 minute, 52 seconds)
Video showing safe work with fixed plant (1 minute, 37 seconds)
Haul Roads
Haul Roads videoVideo simulating an accident on a haul road with inadequate edge protection (33 seconds)
Mobile Plant and Pedestrians
Pedestrians videoVideo showing a simulated accident when a pedestrian fails to act safely (57 seconds)
Video showing safe work methods with mobile plant and pedestrians (1 minute, 37 seconds)
Quarry Faces
Quarry Face videoVideo showing a lack of edge protection leading to a simulated fall from height. Viewer discretion is advised (41 seconds)
Video showing an effective edge protection system at the top of a quarry face (34 seconds)
Work at Height
Work at Height videoVideo showing unsafe work at height leading to a simulated accident. Viewer discretion is advised (1 minute, 8 seconds)

Safequarry videos

The Safequarry YouTube channel provides simple videos on slips, trips and falls, described as "ideal for use in toolbox talks, an induction process or as part of a safety training or awareness event". There is no spoken element to these videos that convey the message without narration.

Exiting vehicles
Exit vehicle videoVideo showing animated unsafe practice in dismounting a truck and real-life video of the correct way to remove a trip hazard. (1 minute, 9 seconds)
Gantries videoVideo with an animated slip on material on a gantry, then real-life footage of simple housekeeping to remove the problem. (1 minute, 5 seconds)
Housekeeping in workshops
Housekeeping videoAnimated video with an accident in an untidy workshop and real-life video of clearing the floor. (1 minute, 37 seconds)
Muddy boots
Muddy Boots videoAn animated accident caused by muddy boots and real life video of a simple method of removing excess mud. (46 seconds)
Paths and trip hazards
Trip videoAn animated accident after staff fail to report a pothole and real life video fixing a defective path. (1 minute, 7 seconds)
Pedestrian routes
Pedestrian Route videoAn animated video showing use of an unauthorised walkway then real life video with a proper pedestrian route. (1 minute, 9 seconds)
Pothole videoVideo of an animated fall in a pothole and real life video filling a pothole. (46 seconds)
Snow or icy conditions
Snow or Ice videoAn animated slip on ice followed by gritting of the icy area. (49 seconds)
Spillage videoVideo of an animated slip on an oil spill with real life video removing an oil spill. (1 minute, 1 second)
Stairs videoAn animated video with tow falls on stairs followed by real life video of safe carrying of a load on stairs. (39 seconds)

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Quarrying Fatalities


Quarrying and related factories (block plants, ready-mix, tarmac etc.) employ about 10,000 people in Ireland, producing approximately 35 million tonnes annually. This is the highest production per capita in Europe and contributes significantly to the Irish economy. Quarrying operations range from very small sand and gravel pits to relatively large hard rock quarries. About 1,500 quarries are registered with local authorities. About 550 are active at any time.

Quarrying has a high fatal incident rate. 14 people died in quarrying between 2002 and 2011 in accidents involving vehicles (1), suffocation (1) and collapse of material (3). The vast majority of the fatal accidents (9) involved machinery - both mobile and fixed plant.

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