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‘Grandad Built My House’ – Minister Nash launches HSA-sponsored children’s book to raise awareness in high risk construction sector

A book of writing, conversations and art about safety in construction, by children with connections to construction, from all over Ireland.

39 workers killed in construction work over past five years – fatality rate is rising since 2013. Construction is a growing sector with 120,000 plus employed. 

Minister for Business and Employment, Ged Nash TD today (Tuesday 1st December) launched a Health and Safety Authority sponsored children’s book ‘Grandad Built My House’. The book is published by Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership and is the culmination of a project amongst primary school children which is aimed at raising awareness of workplace safety in construction, amongst families employed in construction. The project is part of a wider Authority campaign of raising health and safety awareness in the construction sector. 

The book, entitled ‘Grandad Built My House’, is the work of 89 primary school children from all over Ireland, out of 6,650 children who entered a HSA construction-related art/writing competition. The project was run in partnership with the 21 full-time Education Centres. The thought-provoking book will be sent to every primary school and library in the country. 

Minister Nash said: “I want to say a huge congratulations to all the children involved in this brilliant book, ‘Grandad Built My House’. We know that construction is a high risk sector and unfortunately when someone is seriously injured or killed in the workplace this has a devastating effect on families.” 

“So, it’s really important that we raise awareness of the importance of health and safety among the families of construction workers, and this book, which will be distributed to all primary schools and libraries, will play an important part in that. Construction is one of the fastest growing areas of employment in the economy with more than 120,000 employed, so it is vital as this growth continues that we are proactive in raising awareness of the high levels of risk on sites and influencing attitudes and behaviours amongst construction workers.” 

The HSA has identified health as a key focus for the construction sector as more working days are lost due to work-related illness than injuries. In addition, more deaths in construction are caused by work-related ill health than result from on-site accidents. 

Martin O’Halloran, CEO of the Health and Safety Authority said: “Over 6,650 children entered the HSA competition about safety in construction work. We are delighted to be celebrating some of these children here today with the publication of their book. Their work is both a celebration of the industry and a cautionary tale of the consequences when things happen to their loved ones at work. Children are uniquely placed to influence their family members and this project has opened up a new conversation around choosing safe behaviour on-site.” 

Orla Kenny, Creative Director with Kids ‘Own Publishing said: “Our artists and writers worked directly with the children in six Education Centres around Ireland to ensure their voices were heard and represented in this engaging and beautiful book. Literature by children is a very different matter from literature for children. This book will be a powerful addition to this unique genre. Children have a significant role to play in achieving cultural change through active participation within society. We look forward to working with schools now to ensure this book is actively used as a resource to promote safety.” 

Paul Fields, Director of Kilkenny Education Centre said: “We were delighted to work with the HSA on this construction safety story and art competition.  It’s great to see it coming to fruition now with the publication of ‘Grandad Built Our House’. 

“All 21 full-time Education Centres engaged with the HSA on this initiative, and the production of this resource is a very good example of inter-agency co-operation. The Education Centres promoted the project across schools in every county and we are delighted to support the safety message in schools. Children have raised their own awareness levels as well as bringing the safety message home to parents.” 

ENDS

 

For further information, please contact:

Mark Ryan, Health and Safety Authority on 01-6147068/086-8036141

 

Notes to Editors: 

In the five year period from 2010 to the end of 2014, 39 people lost their lives in construction-related activity. This was in the context of a major recession which saw a huge decline in construction activity. The HSA is very concerned at the projected number of deaths over the coming years if current trends continue. 

The rate of fatalities in the construction sector fell sharply from 7.4 per 100,000 workers in 2004 to 4.1 in 2010, a period encompassing boom and bust. However, from 2010 onwards the fatality rate for the construction sector increased steadily from 4.1 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2010 to 9.8 in 2013. 

Working at height and accidents with machinery are the leading causes of serious injuries/deaths on sites. So far in 2015, four construction workers have been killed as the result of falls from a height. 

Workers are also far more likely to suffer ill health from their work than injury. Control of construction dusts, noise exposure, poor manual handling, occupational cancers and psychosocial issues are all serious issues on construction sites. 

Fatal accidents in Construction 2010 – 2015

 

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015*

Total Fatalities

48

54

48

47

55

50

Total Fatality Rate

1.96

2.3

2.7

2.3

2.5

n/a

Construction Fatalities

6

6

8

11

8

12

Construction Fatality Rate

4.1

4.6

6.9

9.8

5.5

n/a

Construction Fatalities as % of Total

13%

11%

17%

23%

15%

24%

* 2015 figures are Year to Date as of 30th November

 

 

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