HSA launches two week inspection campaign in construction sector focusing on the dangers of working at height and hazards from sun exposure

2nd June 2023

  • In 2022, 7 people lost their lives working in the construction sector in Ireland. Of these 7 construction fatalities, 5 of which related to working at height.
  • In 2022, slipping or falling led to 286 work-related construction incidents. 38% of these were falls from height.

The HSA will begin a construction inspection campaign on Tuesday 6th June highlighting the need for vigilance to safety when working at heights and the importance of using sun screen and UV protection whilst working outdoors, especially in summer months. The two week campaign will target both small and large construction sites.

During the campaign, the HSA will be inspecting construction sites to ensure   employers and those self-employed in construction understand the risks associated with working at height and have put in place the appropriate control measures.

To ensure a safe working environment employers and self-employed should:

  • carry out risk assessments for work at height activities and make sure all work is properly planned, organised and carried out by a competent person,
  • chose the right work equipment and put in place measures to prevent falls (such as guard rails and working platforms).
  • ensure all those working on construction site understand the risks and comply with safety systems

HSA inspectors, during their site visits, will also be reminding employers and the self-employed in the construction sector on the risks of sun exposure when working outdoors. It is important when working outdoors that workers remain hydrated, wear appropriate clothing and apply sun screen with UV protection

Eibhlin O’Leary, Programme Manager, Occupational Safety at the HSA said “working at height has added risks and therefore there is a need for extra precaution and advance planning. We urge employers and those self-employed on construction sites to carry out a risk assessment which includes a careful examination of what harm could be caused from working at height with a view to taking the necessary steps to manage the risk.

“Sun exposure is a common hazard for outdoor workers, especially during summer months. We would advise workers to wear suitable clothing that will cover their skin from harsh sun exposure and to use UV protection. It’s also vital to stay hydrated during hotter months.”

“Working safely is everyone’s responsibility and everyone on the site must be aware of the risks and exercise caution.”

During this campaign, HSA Inspectors will be providing information and making employers aware of resources available such as the free short on-line courses available on the HSA e-learning portal hsalearning.ie. Construction workers can also use the free resources on BeSMART.ie where the HSA’s free online safety management and risk assessment tool is available.

HSA resources for employers and self-employed in the construction sector include:

  • BeSMART.ie, the HSA’s free online safety management and risk assessment tool
  • Guidance on safe working at heights is available on the HSA website at https://www.hsa.ie/eng/Topics/Work_at_Height/
  • Free short on-line safety courses are also available on https://hsalearning.ie/