Please stay safe, and stay out of quarries

First published in Letters

LAST year during a two-month period of unusually warm weather six people drowned in former quarry lakes across the UK.

Quarry operators know that the warmer weather heralds an increase in young people and adults entering quarries uninvited with potentially tragic consequences.

This has been reinforced by two fatalities in quarry lakes and a serious injury following a fall from a quarry rock face this year.

With the start of the school summer holidays and warmer weather, the Mineral Products Association (MPA) is keen to ensure that these risks are better understood and to appeal to parents to ensure that their youngsters are not tempted to enter into local quarries uninvited.

With over 1,300 active quarries and many more former sites located across the UK, there is a high probability that anyone reading this letter will live within a few miles of one of these sites.

Our Stay Safe campaign is supported by the parents’ of teenagers who have died in quarry accidents. They believe that their sons might still be alive today if they had understood the risks they were taking.

Quarry lakes or other open water like reservoirs may look inviting but the temperature of the water can be icy cold, extremely deep and conceal unexpected hazards such as currents, pumps, weeds or obstacles hidden beneath the water.

The impact that cold water can have on one’s body can result in even very experienced swimmers suddenly finding themselves in trouble and the water can be difficult to exit.

Other dangers people expose themselves to include unstable or concealed cliff edges that could give way, falling rocks, stockpiles that can collapse when children tunnel into them and settling ponds that can act like quicksand. Quad and trail biking in quarries exposes riders to the risks from unstable ground suddenly collapsing or being hit by plant or machinery.

I would urge parents and others to view and share our Facebook page Stay Safe Stay Out of Quarries with others. Our message and the message from the parents of the boys who have been killed is simple – unless you are invited on an organised visit by the quarry operator – please stay safe, and stay out of quarries.

Elizabeth Clements

Mineral Products Association

London

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