Work related accidents claimed 47 lives last year

Agriculture the worst sector for fatal incidents for the eighth year in a row

The HSA said 14 elderly farmers were killed “many of them working alone at the time of the accident. Finding supports for elderly farmers or farmers working alone is something that needs to be addressed”. Image: iStock

The HSA said 14 elderly farmers were killed “many of them working alone at the time of the accident. Finding supports for elderly farmers or farmers working alone is something that needs to be addressed”. Image: iStock

 

Forty seven people died in work-related incidents last year – one more than in 2016.

The most vulnerable group were elderly farmers.

Of the 47 people who died, 24 worked in agriculture, making this sector the worst for fatal incidents for the eighth year in a row. One of the deaths involved a child, however.

The next most dangerous sectors was construction and transport which each recorded six deaths, according to figures published on Wednesday by the Health and Safety Authority.

“Across all sectors,” the authority said in a statement, “accidents involving vehicles accounted for 21 of all fatalities in 2017. Falls from height (six) was the next most common cause.

“Most fatalities (28) involved 18-65 years old males; there were 14 men over 65 killed in the agriculture sector.

“Of 47 fatalities reported, 18 were self-employed persons, 15 were employees, seven non-workers and seven family workers.”

The youngest fatality was aged just one year, while the oldest was aged 94. Two deaths involved non-Irish nationals.

Geographically, the highest number of death were in Dublin, Cork and Mayo (with six in each county), and Wexford which had five.

HSA chief executive, Martin O’Halloran, said that a collective effort was required to reduce the high level of farm accidents.

“Everyone involved in farming must aim to make whatever changes are necessary, to work practices, to stop these accidents occurring each year,” he said. “That means safety must be paramount when carrying out any work, especially with tractors or farm machinery.”

The HSA said 14 elderly farmers were killed “many of them working alone at the time of the accident. Finding supports for elderly farmers or farmers working alone is something that needs to be addressed”.

The authority vowed to continue inspections, awareness raising and education to support what it called “safe farming”.

“We need to make this a fundamental part of farming culture, until it is we will continue to have devastation and carnage on our farms.”

Many serious accidents involve vehicles. “We have over 2 million people at work and this is a positive development. However, this will lead to increased traffic and movement of vehicles in workplaces creating hazards that must be managed. Regardless of the sector, where we have people and vehicles moving in close proximity, the danger is elevated. These dangers are greatly reduced when everyone is aware of the hazards and safe systems of work are implemented.”