Thursday 27 June 2019

Marked decline in work-related deaths in 2018

37 people were killed in work-related accidents in 2018, a fall of 23% on 2017.

(PA)
(PA)

By Aoife Moore, Press Association

There has been a 23% drop in work-related deaths in Ireland in 2018, new figures show.

The statistics, issued by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), reveal the total number of fatalities is at its lowest level since the formation of the HSA in 1989.

Figures released by the HSA on Tuesday show that 37 people were killed in work-related accidents in 2018, a decline of 23% on 2017.

The farming sector, which has consistently been the most dangerous sector in which to work, had 15 work-related deaths last year compared to 25 in 2017, a fall of 40%.

Due to the efforts of employers, employees and key stakeholders, there has been a huge improvement in health and safety standards since then Dr Sharon McGuinness

The second most dangerous sectors in 2018 were construction and transport, which each had five deaths, while fishing and aquaculture saw four workers die at work over the year.

Dublin was the region with the highest number of work-related deaths, which is most likely attributed to higher population density.

The fatal accident rate of 1.6 deaths per 100,000 workers is also now at an all-time low.

Dr Sharon McGuinness, chief executive officer of the HSA, said: “I very much welcome the decline in work-related fatalities in 2018.

“The fatality rate of 1.6 deaths per 100,000 workers is particularly significant given it was as high as 6.4 per 100,000 workers in the early 1990s.

“Due to the efforts of employers, employees and key stakeholders, there has been a huge improvement in health and safety standards since then.

“However, with 37 people losing their lives in work-related activity in 2018, there is clearly still more to be done.

“Although farming has also seen a very strong improvement in 2018, 15 fatalities, which represents 41% of total fatalities, is still far too many for a sector that employs just 6% of the workforce.

“The next highest sector is construction with five deaths in 2018 (14% of the total) so both sectors will remain a key priority for us in 2019.

“I urge all stakeholders, particularly those in the farming and construction sectors, to focus their efforts to ensure 2019 sees a continuation of this very positive trend.

“The economy is thriving with thousands of new workers joining the workforce each month.

“There are challenges ahead such as Brexit and also the fact that many employers are facing a skills shortage in certain sectors.

“In this context, it is important that worker health and safety stays on the priority list.

“Safe and healthy employees are the backbone of any successful enterprise”.

1995 was the worst year on record for fatalities at work, with 79 people losing their lives.

Press Association

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