UK Quarries on Track Toward Zero Goal

Reportable injuries have plunged by 76 percent since the Hard Target campaign launched a decade ago. Health and Safety Executive Chair Judith Hackitt congratulated the industry and urged lowering injuries another 15 percent by 2015.

One of England's most dangerous industries, quarrying stone, is a lot safer today than a decade ago for the workers involved. Reportable injuries are down by 76 percent since the Hard Target campaign launched in 2000, causing Health and Safety Executive Chair Judith Hackitt to congratulate the industry and urge lowering injuries another 15 percent by 2015.

"Target Zero" is the name of the latter initiative. "The quarrying industry has demonstrated what can be achieved when an industry sector commits to improvement in health and safety," she said in a recent speech at a quarry exhibition. "However, there is no room for complacency. As the number of incidents decrease, it will get ever more challenging for the industry to make further gains. Reaching the new goals will require even more hard work, determination and the development of new approaches. The improvements made so far are down to strong leadership, with employers promoting a safety culture right across their organizations, bolstered by the efforts of the unions and trade associations. It's also about creating an environment that encourages sharing and learning. This can be best demonstrated through the example of an explosives engineer who has been sharing his expertise on safe drilling and blasting and safety reps who have devised worker involvement courses in their own time."

Hard Target began with a year 2000 baseline of 655 reportable injuries. The industry had 542 reportable injuries in 2001. The number fell steadily to 337 in 2004, when Target Zero began, and was down to 155 in 2009.

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