Number of workplace deaths down 13%

 

The number of workplace deaths fell by 13 per cent last year, according to figures released by the Health and Safety Authority today.

Some 47 people were killed in workplace incidents last year compared with 54 in 2011.

The agriculture sector recorded the highest number of deaths for the third year in succession. Some 21 people died in farm-related incidents last year, one less than in 2011.

The authority highlighted the increase in deaths in the construction sector. It accounted for the second highest number of workplace fatalities when it recorded eight, compared with six in 2011.

Health and Safety Authority chief executive Martin O’Halloran said he was concerned about construction safety standards. “The increase in fatalities and feedback from our inspectors indicates there has been, in some areas, a slippage in standards. We carried out 3,000 inspections in the sector in 2012, and we will continue a high level of engagement during 2013.”

The fishing industry recorded the third highest number of workplace deaths with seven fishermen dying at sea last year. Last January’s sinking of the Tit Bonhomme near Glandore Harbour in Cork accounted for five of those fatalities while the other two deaths were on board a trawler that sank off Spanish Point in Clare. There were other drownings last year but they were not classified as workplace accidents by the authority.

The biggest reduction in fatalities occurred in the transportation and storage sector, with one death reported compared with seven in 2011. Of the 47 people killed in workplace accidents last year, there were four non-worker fatalities, two of which were children.

Some 7,000 non-fatal injuries are also reported to the authority every year. Mr O’Halloran said the health and social work sector had experienced a particularly high level of these injuries in recent years. “Incidents involving manual handling and slips, trips and falls tend to be the most common cause of injury.”

The authority will be unveiling its programme of work for 2013 later this month.

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