Carlow IT, Team A Copyright Fennell Photography 2015

From left: Seamus Feeley, then Acting Director General, SCSI; Mike Keyes, Safety Consultant (judge); Dr Anne Drummond, UCD; winners Richard Burke, Alan McCartney and Adin Middleton; Martin O’Halloran, CEO, HSA; Robert Butler, CIF/HSA Board Member; Damien Owens, Engineers Ireland; and, Norita Robinson, IOSH.

A team of students from Carlow IT has won the Health and Safety Authority’s Safety in Construction competition, aimed at undergraduate teams from construction-related programmes in higher education. At the final, which was held in the RDS in March, seven shortlisted teams battled it out to win the first prize of Apple iPads. Cork IT won the runner-up prize of €600 and all finalists received certificates of achievement. The winning team was captained by Adin Middleton, with team members Richard Burke and Alan McCartney.
The competition asked students from different disciplines to work together as a team of safety consultants considering key aspects of refurbishment works on a historic building – the fictitious Ballycarraig Rua Castle in Co. Waterford. Various challenges had to be addressed including: designing a poster to be used on this and other State-sponsored conservation projects to motivate site personnel to work safely; positively influence safety on site using the principles of behavioural-based safety; addressing risk assessment around manual handling; scaffold design; and, occupational health challenges in relation to lime plastering.
Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority Martin O’Halloran said: “This competition gets construction undergraduates thinking and collaborating on safety before they reach the workplace. Working together to find solutions to the kind of safety challenges that construction professionals come across every day will help to keep the construction sites of the future safer places to work in”.
Chairperson of the Authority’s Third Level Education Group, Dr Anne Drummond from UCD, said: “Encouraging teams from different disciplines in construction-related third-level programmes to collaborate on real-life scenarios like this reaps real benefits for the students. Using problem-based learning helps students to learn about risk management in a very hands-on way where they can learn from one another and apply theoretical knowledge and principles”.