Small Contractors' Safety In Focus

The safety of workers on building sites was in focus this week with news of a new initiative to promote safer workplaces.

The Irish Minister for Labour Affairs and Public Service Transformation, Dara Calleary has launched the new SMP20 (Safety Management Pack) for small construction contractors.

The Construction Safety Partnership has produced SMP 20, specifically to help small contractors establish and maintain an effective safety management system.

In the last number of years, the construction industry has declined in the level of construction activity output and also in terms of the number directly working in the sector.

The launch of this new safety management pack is set against a background, which shows that all 10 of the construction sector workers who died at work in 2009 involved contractors with 20 or less employees.

The small contractor sector has statistically accounted for the largest number of workplace accidents and fatalities down through the years. Therefore this new pack is specifically designed to help smaller contractors protect their workers more effectively and increase competitiveness, in an increasingly challenging commercial market.

Minister Calleary said: "Today's launch of the Safety Management Pack will contribute greatly to the observance of the construction regulations because of the simple and logical way in which the pack is set out. The pack is an example of how a sensible, fully thought-out approach to health and safety can result in a better company-specific safety management system, which will offer cost savings and will help avoid workplace accidents."

Martin O'Halloran, Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority, added: "This new safety pack is a practical roadmap for managing safety and health on site. Last year all 10 deaths in the construction sector involved contractors with twenty or less employees. The sector has seen significant improvements in recent years but there is still clearly a lot to be done. Small contractors must protect their workers and this new pack will help facilitate that and improve competitiveness."


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