Building Safety

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A Competition to raise awareness of Construction Safety for children 2015

Over the past two years, many primary schools across the country have participated in the Health and Safety Authority’s safety awareness projects regarding the issues of ocean safety and farm safety. The voices of children in raising awareness about these very important safety areas have been published in two children’s books, and the strong safety message emanating from these publications has played an important role in encouraging children themselves to be safety aware. It also places a responsibility on parents and adults to listen to that strong voice from children.

In conjunction with the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), West Cork Education Centre organised a Construction Safety art/writing competition and book project for primary school children. The competition was aimed at raising awareness among children and their families and was of particular interest to those children whose parents are working in the construction industry (builders, brick layers, carpenters, plumbers, roofers, machinery operators and drivers, etc.)

The construction sector in Ireland has a workforce of around 120,000 people directly employed and few families did not have someone employed in the industry over the past decade. This figure is rising again. Construction workers are almost 3 times more likely to be killed while at work compared to the average worker. As part of the Health and Safety Authority campaign to reduce accidents and fatalities in the sector, we ask schools to participate in this important project.

Participating schools were asked to encourage children to discuss health and safety issues at home with their parents and wider family. The Health and Safety Authority values the upward influence that children exert on parents and their wider families to effect changes in safety behaviour.

This project involved three parts: (i) an art/writing competition with €50 prizes for winners in each Education Centre catchment area (ii) participation in a workshop with artists and writers from Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership (iii) the production and publication of a children’s book on life and working in construction. The book will be published and formally launched with the children by the Health and Safety Authority in 2015 in conjunction with Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership and the network of full-time Education Centres.

The competition was divided into four age group categories:

Pupils from Junior and Senior Infant classes
Pupils from 1st and 2nd classes
Pupils from 3rd and 4th classes
Pupils from 5th and 6th classes
Schools must short-list entries and are limited to submitting two entries in each category above.

The book will be distributed to all primary schools and libraries nationwide. Primary schools in the West Cork Education Centre area had four winning entries published in the specially commissioned book. All primary schools will receive two free copies of the book in the autumn of 2015, which will be followed up with suggested lesson plans for teachers on how to use the book as a teaching resource.

Prizes

The HSA provided over €4,000 in prize money for the nationwide competition. The prize money was exclusively for schools within the network of full time Education Centres. The winning children recived €50 each, and a Certificate of Achievement from the HSA.

Competition Entries:

Students could submit one of the following: a drawing, a painting, a collage, a photograph, a poem or a short story, with a safety theme about life in construction work. Some suggestions include:

-The life and work of a builder (family perspectives)
-Working at a height (roof, bridge, school, ladders, scaffolding)
-Working around machinery and equipment hazards
-The risks for children in entering construction sites
-Working underground (e.g. pipe laying)
-Other hazards on site (e.g. chemicals or asbestos)
-Theuse of safety clothing (hard hats, shoes, viz jackets) etc.

Health and Safety Authority and West Education Centre announce national ‘Building Safety’ primary school competition winners

6,650 children entered the nationwide competition

The Health and Safety Authority and Education Centre has announced the winners of their construction safety competition ‘Building Safety’ which was open to primary school children nationwide and attracted over 6,650 entries from around the country. 4 children were chosen as regional winners in the West Cork Education Centre catchment area.

Mike McDonagh, Senior Construction Inspector, Health and Safety Authority, and Seán Arthur, Limerick Education Centre, presented two of the winners, both from Our Lady of Mercy, Bantry with their prize and Certificate of Achievement on June 4 th 2015. Mary O’Donovan, Director of West Cork Education Centre visited the Model School, Dunmanway on June 11 th and presented prizes and Certificates of Achievement to two winners there while also having the opportunity to speak to the students on the importance of safety. The competition was aimed at raising awareness among children and their families about the critical issue of safety in construction. Children were asked to create a piece of art, or, write a story or poem, with a construction safety theme. The winners had the opportunity to participate in workshops around the country with artists and writers from Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership. The resulting book will be published by the Health and Safety Authority in the Autumn and sent to all schools and libraries nationwide.

The following children emerged as competition overall winners in West Cork Education Centre catchment area.

Hannah O’ Donoghue, Our Lady of Mercy, Bantry
Lily Harley, Our Lady of Mercy, Bantry
Sive Buckley, The Model School, Dunmanway
Robert Kingston, The Model School, Dunmanway

Joanne Harmon, Education Manager with the Health and Safety Authority said, “We’re delighted to present the winners with their well-deserved prizes. The construction sector in Ireland has a workforce of around 120,000 people directly employed and this means a lot of extended families for those workers. Construction workers are almost three times more likely to be killed while at work compared to the average worker, so influencing behaviour is critical.”

Ms. Harmon added, “When someone dies in a workplace accident, the knock-on effect is felt by their families for a generation. Children have a unique influence on their parents’ behaviour and by participating in a competition like this, health and safety issues which would not normally be discussed at home are talked through.”

Mary O’Donovan, Director of West Cork Education Centre said, “We are delighted to promote a competition like this which is concerned with safety and the livelihood of so many of our children’s families. We have had a great response to the competition and children are uniquely placed to influence social change in the home and by extension, the workplace. They are raising their own awareness of safety as well as bringing the safety message home to parents and extended family employed in the construction industry.”

For further information, please contact: Mary O’Donovan, at West Cork Education Centre or Mark Ryan, Health and Safety Authority on 01-6147068/086-8036141

Congratulations to all the schools that entered this competition

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