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SAFETY: ‘Stay Safe’ This Summer

MPA’s Stay Safe campaign is an on-going campaign run on behalf of our members to prevent members of the public being killed or injured in quarries and related sites due to venturing in uninvited.

Most fatalities in quarries involving members of the public are water related and, predominantly, involve males in the 12 to 32 age range. The fatalities and serious injuries tend to occur at disused sites that are no longer managed or owned by our members. Sadly, across the UK in 2018, 8 males aged between 13 to 31 died in water related incidents in disused quarry lakes. Many former sites of mineral extraction have been restored and include quarry lakes, often these sites have become public amenities or nature reserves. The quarry lakes frequently have very deep, cold water, sudden changes in depth and unstable sides that can be difficult to exit. Like other man-made water filled voids such as reservoirs, these sites may be enjoyed from the land but are not suitable for swimming, particularly by individuals who are unaware of the potential hazards.

Whilst MPA’s primary focus is for public safety in member operated or owned quarries, it recognises this will most effectively be achieved within the wider context of drowning prevention and close collaboration with other organisations with an interest in water safety and drowning prevention. MPA is also keen to ensure that current owners of former quarry sites understand the public safety issues and the support that is available to them.

Tragically, 60% of the UK’s 1,029 accidental drownings over a five-year period commencing in 2012 were at inland water sites. 263 people accidentally drowned in open water such as rivers, canals, reservoirs, and quarry lakes in 2018.

The campaign incorporates the following activities:

In partnership:

  • Supporting the National Water Safety Forum and The UK National Drowning Prevention Strategy
  • Supporting Scotland's Drowning Prevention Strategy
  • Supporting Wales’ Drowning Prevention Strategy
  • Supporting MPA Northern Irelands campaign and their work with HSENI
  • Involvement in national and regional multi-agency safety forums in England, Scotland, and Wales. MPA participates in the National Water Safety Forum’s Inland Waters Group, working with its members and other organisations to raise awareness of the hazards associated with open water and ways of mitigating these risks. MPA Wales is a member of Water Safety Wales
  • All too often after a fatality, the friends and family of the individual involved say that they were not aware of the risks they were exposing themselves, they thought they were engaged in a harmless bit of fun. MPA believes that helping to raise awareness of the hazards associated with quarries, both active and disused, will help to save young people’s lives. MPA is collaborating with and supporting organisations such as the Fire and Rescue Services, RNLIRLSS and RoSPA in their campaigns to raise public awareness of the dangers associated with open water safety
  • Sharing best practice. MPA is supporting this RoSPA publication for those who are managing land which is adjacent to inland waters - as quarry lakes, reservoirs, rivers, canals, lakes, lochs, harbours, ponds, and streams
  • Maintaining statistics on fatalities and injuries and sharing with WAID

For members:

  • Development of industry guidelines on the management of public safety at sites and regular reminders to quarry operators of their responsibilities in relation to public safety
  • Water safety messages for operators
  • Development of warning signs for use by the industry is available from these official suppliers:
  • Encouraging members to have a public safety risk assessment and action plan for their sites and collecting relevant data
  • Providing members with the resources to support their community engagement work on safety. Click here for more information and resources
  • Running media safety campaigns to coincide with high-risk periods
  • Engaging with schools located near high-risk sites and sharing resources and support
  • Working with parents of young men who have lost their lives in quarry accidents to help campaign to raise awareness. Watch the 'Why Quarry Lakes Can Be Killers' film
  • Use of social media and videos to support activities to raise public awareness. Find more information on the 'Stay Safe Stay Out of Quarries' Facebook page

For more information contact Elizabeth Clements.