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Although workplace fatalities fell by almost 20 per cent between 2017 and 2018, 17 out of the 39 work-related deaths reported to the HSA last year were caused by vehicles. Tractors were involved in most of the incidents, but cars, refuse trucks and forklifts were also responsible for deaths. Six deaths have already been provisionally recorded in the transport sector this year, according to the HSA.
The overall death rate of 39 was the lowest recorded since the HSA was established in 1989. The farming sector saw a 40 per cent drop in deaths between 2017 and 2018, from 25 to 15, while construction was responsible for five fatalities.
"The number of people being killed in circumstances that could have been prevented is nothing short of a human tragedy," said the HSA's chief executive officer Dr Sharon McGuinness.
"Drivers at work often forget about the same hazards that they look out for when driving on the road, like properly maintaining their vehicles, and paying attention to pedestrians when reversing. These checks could help prevent a fatal catastrophe to themselves or a work colleague."
The HSA also concluded 15 prosecutions last year, handing out fines totalling just under €706,000 (£772,989).
The organisation's chair, Tom Coughlan, added that the organisation was now also focusing on the potential impact of Brexit in relation to areas such as industrial products and chemicals.
"In addition to our focus on occupational health and safety, the HSA is working to deliver support and advice to Irish companies as part of the whole-of-government work to get Ireland Brexit-ready,' he said.
The Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) has committed to ongoing inspections of farms to reduce the number of accidents. Farming was a “high-risk way of life from a health and safety point of view,” HSENI chief executive Robert Kidd told Farming Life magazine.
Jersey’s Health and Safety Inspectorate has issued 22 prohibition notices this year, just three less than the total for the whole of 2018. The rise in enforcement activity is being driven by a thriving building industry, the inspectorate believes.
Musculoskeletal harm now accounts for 27 per cent of all work-related disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost in New Zealand, according to a report from the country’s health and safety regulator, WorkSafe. A DALY is defined by the World Health Organization as one lost “healthy” life year.