The Health and Safety Authority is beginning a two-week quarry safety inspection campaign from today focusing on safe machinery guarding and maintenance activities.

It follows an inspection campaign in May which identified safety areas of concern including inadequate machine guarding, lack of risk assessments for planned and unplanned maintenance, and lack of training in certain systems.

Twenty-five improvement notices and 23 prohibition notices were issued over the May campaign, with the majority relating to guarding issues.

Between 2013 and 2022, quarrying, mining and the associated manufacturing activities in the industry accounted for eight work-related deaths in Ireland.

A large proportion of serious and fatal incidents occur during maintenance operations.

"Quarries are potentially hazardous workplaces especially due to the large and powerful machinery used on a regular basis," said HSA Senior Inspector Hilary Byrne.

"Employers need to actively carry out risk assessments and put in place appropriate control measures including safe ways of working."

"This is to ensure the safety of employees, contractors, and any visitors to these quarries," Ms Byrne said.

During this campaign, HSA inspectors will be seeking evidence of routine inspections and risk assessments.

They will also be looking to see that employees receive information, instruction and safety training, and that equipment and machinery used in maintenance activity is suitable for the task.

Chief Executive of the Irish Concrete Federation Gerry Farrell welcomed the launch of the quarry safety campaign.

"The high level of incidents that occur as the direct result of unsafe machinery operation and inadequate guarding or no guarding of hazardous moving machine parts is alarming," Mr Farrell said.

"We urge employers and duty holders to prioritise carrying out risk assessments," he added.