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Safety fears as one ESB worker out of work each week due to injuries

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Last year, 72 workers at the ESB suffered injuries sufficient enough to need time away from work, including 52 staff members and 20 contractors (Stock picture)

Last year, 72 workers at the ESB suffered injuries sufficient enough to need time away from work, including 52 staff members and 20 contractors (Stock picture)

Last year, 72 workers at the ESB suffered injuries sufficient enough to need time away from work, including 52 staff members and 20 contractors (Stock picture)

At least one ESB worker every week on average has to take time off due to a workplace injury, prompting the commercial semi-state to look into rolling out a "safety culture change".

So-called lost time injuries reached a high of more than 300 in the mid-1990s, before dropping to its lowest point at 37.

But since then it has stayed "stubbornly" at about 50.

Last year, 72 workers at the ESB suffered injuries sufficient enough to need time away from work, including 52 staff members and 20 contractors. "Most" workers are making a quick recovery, according to the company.

With total staff of 6,500, the numbers are relatively low overall, at just over 1pc. But the company-State believes more needs to be done, with those working in generating stations, the transmission and distribution networks most at risk.

"Although our injury rate has improved over time, our staff are still getting injured at work," it said.

An ESB spokesman said the most significant safety risks arose for those working with electricity, at a height and with tools and equipment, as well as for drivers and those involved in transport.

Incidents had occurred across divisions. The ESB spokesman did not have figures for how much the injury-related absences had cost the company.

The vast majority of the injuries were not severe, he said, and were caused by slips and trips, handling, lifting and use of tools and equipment.

"Over the last 15 years, we have worked hard to reduce the number of Lost-Time Injuries (LTI) to staff and contractors from a high of over 300 LTIs in the mid-1990s to 72 in 2016," the spokesman said.

The ESB is now looking into running a programme that would include getting staff to look at how safely they are operating, as well as rolling out safety leadership skills training.

Irish Independent