FOUR children lost their lives in work-related accidents on Irish farms last year.
New figures released by the Health and Safety Authority show there were 46 people killed in work-related accidents during 2013, a slight drop from 2012’s figure of 48.
There were reductions in fatalities in the agriculture sector, with 16 deaths last year compared to 21 in 2012.
The number of deaths in the fishing sector also fell to four last year from seven the previous year.
Martin O’Halloran, CEO of the Health and Safety Authority said: “We recognise that some jobs can be more hazardous than others.
“The number of fatalities in agriculture each year bears that out.
“However, we will never accept that these deaths are inevitable and cannot be prevented.
“I am particularly concerned that four children lost their lives due to work-related accidents on Irish farms last year.
“We are working to foster a culture of safety in the sector but high accident rates show that the pace of change is too slow.”
Mr O’Halloran said that he was calling on farmers to make this year the safest year on farms ever recorded.
The figures show that the construction sector had the second highest number of fatalities with 11 people killed, making it the third year in a row that fatalities increased in the sector.
Mr O’Halloran said that this was a cause for concern.
“We welcome any news that the construction sector is recovering, but I am concerned at the increased fatality rates,” he said.
“The industry did previously have a poor safety record, and, to its credit, industry stakeholders got together and worked on improving standards.”
Also on the rise were the number of deaths in the transportation and storage sector increasing to four last year compared to one in 2012.
Meanwhile, incidents involving vehicles at work accounted for 20 fatalities in 2013.
The county with the highest number of fatalities during the year was Cork with 12.
Of the 46 people killed in work-related accidents, there were eight non-worker fatalities – five in agriculture, two in retail and one in construction.
According to the latest statistics, one person died in the water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities sector during the year, while there were four fatalities in 2012.
The overall trend in fatalities has been decreasing for the last 10 years.