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Irish work deaths fall but farming still ‘area of concern’

The workplace fatal injury rate in the Republic of Ireland decreased from 2.4 to 2.1 per 100,000 workers between 2015 and 2016.

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The Health and Safety Authority’s (HSA) 2016 annual report shows that the three-year rolling fatality rate has remained relatively stable since 2009, following a downward trend between 1999 and 2009. 

The HSA said that last year it received reports of 45 workplace deaths, 43 of which involved workers while members of the public accounted for the rest.

The highest number of fatalities was in the agricultural, forestry and fishing sector, where 24 people died as the result of workplace accidents. Nine construction workers, making it the sector with the second highest death rate since 2012. 

The rate of non-fatal injuries recorded in 2016 was 3.9 per 100,000 workers, little changed from 3.8 the previous year. There were 7,957 non-fatal injuries to workers and about one-third (33%) of them were sustained carrying out manual handling tasks, the report said.

The largest proportion of non-fatal accidents happened in health and social work. This sector submitted 19% of the total number of non-fatal injury reports to the HSA, followed by the manufacturing sector with 17%. 

The report also revealed that the HSA completed 10,477 inspections and investigations last year. A total 6,497 of these were carried out in the construction, farming and fishing sectors. 

The organisation said it took 17 prosecutions which led to fines of €614,000, and served 369 improvement and 413 prohibition notices. 

The HSA’s chief executive Martin O’Halloran said: “Last year was a successful year for the authority although there are certain industry sectors, for example farming, that remain an area of concern.”

 

Keeley Downey is acting deputy editor of IOSH Magazine. She is a former editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine

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