"The number of workplace deaths is disappointing," he said. "[But] I am encouraged that the major injury numbers have dropped by 28% on last year as we know these injuries often have devastating life-changing outcomes for workers.
"We will continue to collaborate with our partners and industry bodies to ensure the focus remains on ensuring the safety and health of workers. I am extremely supportive of the work we have carried out in the field of occupational health and hygiene.
"We will continue to raise awareness of issues in the workplace which we know are associated with chronic ill-health.”
Meanwhile, chief executive Robert Kidd, who joined the regulator in January, highlighted positive steps within the construction industry, saying: "The construction industry has made huge steps in managing both health and safety but there can be no room for complacency in the management of safe work at height where we saw two fatalities this year.
"HSENI remains focused on the important work of stopping unsafe working practices and making industries safer every day. We are grateful to all those who share our ambition to make Northern Ireland's workplaces as safe and healthy as possible, and who have contributed to the achievement of the outcomes set out in our Annual Report."