Four fatalities recorded so far this year related to working at height on Irish construction sites

The Health and Safety Authority received reports of 8,279 non-fatal workplace incidents in 2021

A two-week nationwide inspection campaign in the construction sector, focusing on the dangers of working at height, begins on Monday.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) will be targeting both small and large construction sites across Ireland as part of its campaign.

Four fatalities recorded so far this year related to working at height on Irish construction sites, the authority said. In 2021, 10 people died working in the construction sector, with seven of those specifically linked to working at height.

There were 44 fatalities arising from falls from height over the past 10 years, as well as 1,969 construction non-fatal injuries reported arising from falls.


Authority nspectors will be providing information and making employers aware of resources available over the course of the campaign.

Mark Cullen, the authority’s assistant chief executive, said there continued to be a high number of both fatal and serious injuries arising from working at height on construction sites last year.

“This campaign is highlighting to employers and the self-employed that working at height has added risks and therefore there is a need for extra precaution and advance planning,” he said.

“We urge employers and the self-employed to carry out a risk assessment which includes a careful examination of what harm could be caused from working at height with a view to taking the necessary steps to manage the risks.

“This may mean avoiding the activity altogether, or, where this is not reasonably practicable, carrying it out in a safe manner using the appropriate work equipment.”

Meanwhile, a total of 38 fatal workplace accidents occurred in 2021, according to figures released in the authority’s annual review of workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities, the lowest number of reported yearly fatalities since recording began in 1989.

One of the most common causes of death in the workplace was a loss of control of a vehicle or its attachments, with 11 such incidents last year.

The authority received reports of 8,279 non-fatal workplace incidents. Bone, joint or muscle problems were the most commonly reported incidents, followed by stress, depression and anxiety. Non-fatal incidents rose by eight per cent in 2021.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times