Quarrying in Ireland
The Quarry industry in Ireland is a significant sector of the Irish economy. Though production levels are significantly reduced from those of 2008 there are still a large number of operating quarries and sand pits and the industry is in a good position to expand if there is growth in the construction industry.
Limestone is the most commonly extracted mineral although other types of rock and aggregates are produced. Over 2 million tonnes of finely crushed limestone is used each year to improve lime-deficient soils in many parts of Ireland.Stone, sand and aggregates are used as the main ingredients to produce value added products such as cement, concrete, blocks, pre-cast sections, asphalt, tiles and numerous other products.
Traditionally the Quarry industry has had a high incidence of accidents when considering the numbers of people employed. There have been a number of initiatives to address the issues that are the main causes of accidents and the HSA has worked and continues to work with industry, educational and employer groups to reduce the accident rates.
These initiatives include goal setting legislation with comprehensive guidance, industry seminars, quarry safety weeks and mandatory training for vehicle operators, explosive supervisors and shotfirers.
The causes of accidents in the industry are not new and good management procedures, effective planning of tasks and identification of risks and implementation of control measures should significantly reduce the likelihood of incidents and accidents occurring.
Falls from height and falling objects, slip and. trips, operation of vehicles, operation of crushers, conveyors, sizers and other machinery, maintenance activities, drowning’s and blasting incidents account for almost all of the accidents at Quarries and ancillary plant and are avoidable in almost all instances.