Thirty workplace deaths linked to vehicles last year

Four fifths of bystanders killed in farming workplace accidents were children

Thirty people were killed in workplace accidents involving vehicles last year, with nearly 250 killed in the last decade, according to a report by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA).

The farming and agriculture sector accounted for the largest portion of workplace fatalities involving vehicles, with 110 deaths between 2010 and 2019.

There were 25 fatalities involving vehicles in the transport and storage sector, 24 in the construction industry, 20 in the retail sector, and 20 in vehicle repair shops.

Four-fifths of bystanders killed in farming-related workplace incidents were children, according to the HSA report.

The most common fatal incidents involved pedestrians being knocked down by vehicles, which accounted for 82 deaths. In many of these cases the vehicle had rolled out of control after being parked, often due to a failure to properly engage the handbrake, the report found.

In 44 cases, workplace fatalities involved collisions between two vehicles, and in 21 cases people died after falling from vehicles. Some 95 per cent of the people killed in workplace fatalities were men, most commonly between 55 and 64 years-old.

Tractors were the most common vehicle in fatal incidents, followed by trucks, loaders, quad bikes, and then forklifts.

The HSA report found workplace deaths peak from May to July, which it said was likely due to increased farming activity in that period.

Half of the children who were killed by vehicles in farm accidents died during the school summer holidays, the report said.

The number of fatal incidents involving vehicles peaked at 31 deaths in 2014, and fell to 16 deaths in 2019.

The breeding area, where cattle or other animals are kept on a farm, was the most common location for a fatal farming accident to occur. Over the last decade there were 49 deaths caused by vehicles in these areas, which are often farm fields or sheds.

Cork had the highest number of workplace vehicle fatalities (39), followed by 17 in Dublin and 14 in Tipperary. Only Longford and Louth reported no work-related deaths involving vehicles between 2010 and 2019.

The HSA is to begin a two-week campaign of workplace inspections aimed at vehicle safety from Monday.

The State body said the campaign would focus on inspections at warehouses, transport and logistics companies, and manufacturing plants.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is a reporter with The Irish Times