HSA figures show rise in workplace deaths


Agriculture and construction are the most dangerous sectors of employment according the latest figures from the Health and Safety Authority which show that work related deaths rose in 2005.

The provisional figures published today show that 23 deaths occurred in the construction industry and 17 in agriculture in 2005. Of the 17 deaths in the agricultural sector, 7 involved people over 65 years of age and two were child fatalities.

In total, 70 work-related deaths were reported this year compared to 49 in 2004.

The most common fatal accident trigger was 'fall, collapse or breakage of material' (16 fatalities), followed by 'falls from height' (9 fatalities) and 'loss of control of other transport or handling equipment' (9 fatalities).

Tom Beegan, CEO of the Health and Safety Authority said the figures were further proof of the need for the development of a national culture of workplace health and safety.

"While the general trend is a downward one there is no acceptable level of workplace fatality. Even a single death is one too many."

He said the figures required targeted interventions by the Authority in sectors with the greatest level of fatalities such as construction and farming as well as those parts of the country where fatalities were high such as Cork and Donegal.

"Last year (2005) was marked by the introduction of the new Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act. Both employers and employees have significant responsibilities under the act and we can reduce the numbers of fatalities and serious accidents by making workplace safety a priority in 2006", he added.