23/06/2003

Warning issued over child safety in workplaces

The Health and Safety Executive of Northern Ireland (HSENI) has issued a safety warning to parents, contractors and farm owners about the risk of allowing children to use workplaces as playgrounds.

Statistics show that 13 children have died as a result of accidents on farms and that three children have been killed on construction sites in Northern Ireland during the past seven years. HSENI are striving to reduce these figures on a number of fronts, which includes lending its support to Child Safety Week in Northern Ireland, which will be held on 23-29 June 2003.

During the week-long event, HSENI will embark upon a programme of visits to schools across Northern Ireland to highlight the dangers to children from high-risk sectors such as farms, building sites, quarries and railway lines. Events will include colouring competitions, exhibitions at local shopping centres and visits to schools.

Ken Logan, Head of Construction at HSENI, commented: “We must all act to bring an end to this mid-summer madness. Parents need to ensure that they know where their children are and ensure that their children understand that building sites are not adventure playgrounds.

"Contractors must send out a clear message to their workers to watch for children playing around building sites. If workers see children in dangerous areas, they need to stop work and make sure the children are in a safe place before work is resumed. Sites need to be secured when work is finished for the day and materials on site safely stored."

Mr Logan also pointed out that construction plant is highly attractive to children. "It is essential that contractors ensure plant is parked in a safe manner and that vehicles are locked up and immobilised when not in use," he concluded.

(CL)


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