Campaign launched to keep youngsters out of danger quarry lakes

August 01 2015

SECURITY has been increased at Chipping Sodbury quarry to keep youngsters out of the site this summer.

SECURITY has been increased at Chipping Sodbury quarry to keep youngsters out of the site this summer.
Operator Hanson is supporting the Mineral Products Association (MPA) in an operation to warn of the dangers of swimming in lakes at the bottom of quarries.
The Stay Safe campaign is part of wider efforts involving organisations such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents to make people aware of the risk in taking a dip in any open water, including reservoirs, rivers, canals and lakes.
In 2013 there were 381 accidental water-related fatalities in the UK, many occurring at inland water sites.
A 13-year-old boy who died while swimming in a disused quarry in Lancashire was among 15 people who died in quarry lakes during the past two years.
Youngsters ignoring warning signs and getting into quarry sites in South Gloucestershire have caused regular problems for operators, especially during warm weather.
The site causing most difficulties for Hanson recently is its dormant Tytherington quarry, near Thornbury, but there have also been problems at Chipping Sodbury.
Hanson spokesman David Weeks said: “We are fully supporting the MPA and will be campaigning to keep children out of our sites this summer.
“We have a large quarry at Chipping Sodbury, parts of which are water-filled, and we will be stepping up security here at evenings and weekends.”
Water in quarry lakes is extremely cold, even in mid-summer, as well as being very deep.
The MPA said the effect on the body of sudden immersion in such cold water could have serious consequences for even a strong swimmer.
There are also other hazards, from concealed obstacles that can injure or entangle swimmers, unexpected currents and unstable edges, making it easy to fall in and difficult to get out of the water.
Steve Harris, whose teenage son Jay died of heart failure after falling into the cold water of a quarry lake, said: “Jay did not appreciate the risks that he was exposing himself to. If he had, he may still have been with us today.”
Nigel Jackson, chief executive of the MPA, said: “Tragically, 15 people have died in quarry lakes over the last two years, the majority of who have been young men engaged in activities they perceived to be harmless fun.”