21 people killed on farms in 2012
Farm deaths accounted for almost half of all workplace fatalities last year, figures show.
The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) confirmed 47 people were killed in workplace accidents in 2012, down 13% from 54 a year earlier. The victims included two children and two members of the public.
The HSA said the agriculture sector recorded the highest number of deaths for the third year in succession, with 21.
Martin O'Halloran, chief executive, said efforts have been made to improve performance in farming.
He said: "We have run awareness campaigns, distributed guidance and tailored our inspection programme to help create a culture of safe farming. Some progress has been made but unfortunately, last year 21 families lost loved ones due to farm accidents. Farms are family homes as well as workplaces so farmers need to realise that safe farming is about protecting themselves, their family and their businesses."
The biggest reduction in fatalities was in the transportation and storage sector, with one death reported compared to seven in 2011, while there were no fatalities reported in mining and quarrying.
Elsewhere the construction sector saw an increase in fatalities from six in 2011 to eight in 2012 while 19 deaths involved vehicles. Seven fishermen also died, including the victims of the Tit Bonhomme which sank at the mouth of Glandore Bay. There were about 7,000 non-fatal injuries reported to the authority.
Mr O'Halloran said the health and social work sector has experienced a particularly high level of non-fatal injuries in recent years. "Incidents involving manual handling and slips, trips and falls tend to be the most common cause of injury," he added.
The Irish branch of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) said the statistics for deaths in agriculture gave a terrible sense of deja vu.
Michelle Peate-Morgan, IOSH chairwoman, said: "We have had almost 120 work-related fatalities in the sector in the last five years. Clearly, we have farms and fisheries in Ireland that have a very critical need to improve their health and safety standards."