Over 50 workplace fatalities in 2011

 

Fines totalling over €800,000 were imposed for health and safety breaches last year, according to new figures.

The Health and Safety Authority's annual report reveals there were 32 prosecutions for breaches last year with penalties including five suspended sentences handed out and €819,700 in fines imposed.

The authority said it carried out 15,340 inspections and investigations with 7 per cent of them resulting in formal enforcement action.

There were 54 workplace fatalities reported to the authority last year, 22 of which involved self-employed people.

Cork registered the highest number of workplace fatalities in 2011 with 13 fatalities in total, 6 of which occurred in farming.

"We know, from our accident investigations that many of the 54 fatal accidents reported last year were preventable," said HSA chief executive Martin O’Halloran. "While some work can be hazardous, good health and safety practice does save lives. Those companies which are successful in protecting the safety, health and welfare of their staff are also successful in business.”

Loss of control of vehicles and/or machinery was the most common cause of workplace deaths recorded.

A total of 6,956 non-fatal injuries were reported to the authority last year. Manual handling related injuries continue to account for approximately one third of the 6,956 non-fatal injuries reported with slips, trips and falls being the next most common.