Tuesday 18 December 2018

Ireland above EU average for fatal accidents at work

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Paul O'Donoghue

Ireland is slightly above the EU average in terms of the number of fatal accidents at work in a year, according to the most recent statistics available.

The data from the European Union's statistics agency, Eurostat, shows that the rate of workplace deaths in Ireland was just over four per 100,000 people employed in 2012. This compared to an EU average of just over two-and-a-half. Malta had the highest number of fatal accidents in 2012, with almost nine per 100,000 workers killed on the job while Lithuania and Luxembourg were second and third highest respectively with about six-and-a-half deaths per 100,000 each.

On the opposite end of the spectrum the Netherlands fared the best out of any country in the EU, with less than one person killed in a fatal accident per 100,000 on average in 2012.

For the number of non-fatal accidents at work, defined as accidents that resulted in at least four calendar days of absence from work, Ireland was well below the EU average of about 1,750 per 100,000, recording just under 1,000 accidents per 100,000.

Portugal had the highest number of non-fatal accidents, about 3,700 per 100,000, while Romania had the least, with about 100 per 100,000.

Overall in 2012, there were just under 2.5m non-fatal accidents and just over 3,500 fatal accidents in the EU. These figures marked a substantial reduction compared to 2009, when there had been almost 3m non-fatal accidents and nearly 4,000 fatal accidents.

Men are considerably more likely than women to have a non-fatal accident or to die at work. In the EU member states, almost four out of every five non-fatal accidents at work and more than 95pc of fatal accidents at work involved men.

More recently, the number of workplace deaths in Ireland hit a six-year high in 2014 with 55 people killed in work-related accidents, including five children.

The numbers who died in work-related accidents represented a 17pc increase on the 47 deaths reported the previous year, according to figures from the Health and Safety Authority.

Cork was the most dangerous place to work last year, with nine deaths occurring in that county. Dublin was next with eight and there were seven work-related fatalities in Tipperary and six in Donegal.

The family farm was the most dangerous workplace for the fifth consecutive year, with fatalities in the agricultural sector accounting for 30 deaths in 2014, compared to 16 the previous year, an increase of 87pc.

During the same year, there was a drop in the number of fatalities in the construction sector, from 11 down to eight. There were also reductions in fishing, from five to one, and in transportation and storage, from four down to three.

Farming organisations have also been highlighting the issue but there is resistance to new proposals by Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan to introduce safety as part of the Single Farm Payment cross-compliance.

Irish Independent

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