As part of its Programme of Work for 2018 some 9,150 inspections will be carried out under OSH legislation as well as 1,285 inspections and audits to check compliance with chemicals regulations. It expects to start a further 1,000 investigations.
The construction sector will receive the highest number of inspections with 4,000 planned. The HSA said it will pay particular attention to small construction companies and self-employed workers to further raise safety and health awareness in the country. Thirty of these visits will specifically focus on workplace transport safety.
In addition to building site visits, the HSA also intends to develop guidance on workplace transport safety and occupational health, and run a seminar highlighting safety and health risks to construction workers, such as work at height, moving vehicles and health hazards.
In the agricultural sector, the authority will undertake 2,000 visits of farms and second-hand machinery suppliers, review current research on farm safety, promote the latest Farm Safety Code of Practice, and host a national farm safety conference.
It has also set targets to inspect 800 manufacturing businesses and 250 transport and storage sites.
There were 47 work-related deaths in Ireland last year, almost level with the 46 in 2016. Farm deaths accounted for more than half of the total.
The 24 deaths in agriculture make it the eighth year in a row that the sector recorded the highest number of work-related fatalities.
The construction and transport sectors had the next highest number of fatalities, contributing six each.
Across all sectors, accidents involving vehicles accounted for 21 of all workplace deaths last year, while falls from height (six) was the next most common cause.
On its chemicals safety programme, the HSA said it will provide advice and support to help small and medium Irish firms meet the final registration deadline for REACH, on 31 May. It will complete a total 230 COMAH (Control of Major Accident Hazards) and sub-COMAH site inspections throughout the year.
Pat Breen, minister of state for trade, employment, business, EU digital single market and data protection, said: “The HSA approach of combining inspections and enforcement with prevention and awareness-raising measures in one I fully support.”
HSA’s chief executive Martin O’Halloran added: “The very nature of work is evolving and new types of jobs are constantly being created so we must recognise current hazards and anticipate that ones that will emerge.”