Workplace deaths continue to rise as 55 killed last year

Liam O'Halloran

By Majella O'Sullivan

A MAN whose father died in an accident two years ago has said it is disappointing that fatalities in the workplace continue to rise.

Brian Rohan, the founder of Embrace Farm which offers support to families bereaved by sudden deaths and accidents on farms, says it is a tragedy that 55 people including five children were killed in work-related accidents last year - the highest number in six years.

He was reacting to figures published by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) yesterday which show the family farm continues to be the most dangerous workplace for the fifth consecutive year.

Fatalities in the agricultural sector accounted for 30 deaths last year compared with 16 in 2013, an increase of 87pc.

Mr Rohan's father Liam (74) died in hospital on June 22, 2012, three days after he was involved in an accident while operating machinery on his farm in Shanahoe, Co Laois.

Overall, the number of people who died in work-related accidents represented a 17pc increase on the 47 deaths reported the previous year.

Accidents involving vehicles accounted for 29 fatal accidents. Eighteen of these were in agriculture and mainly involved tractors.

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


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

Apart from agriculture, there were increases in fatalities in manufacturing, which recorded three, up two from 2013, and in the administrative and support services sectors, which rose from none to two.

HSA chief Martin O'Halloran said it was a "particularly horrific" year for the agricultural sector, where the number of fatal accidents was the highest in more than 20 years.

"In May of 2014 alone five people were killed," said Mr O'Halloran.

"It is particularly tragic that five children lost their lives on Irish farms last year.

"We are concerned at a significant increase in workplace fatalities.

"What is particularly alarming is that 54pc of fatalities involved vehicles, up 13pc on the previous year."