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HSA report shows work-related accidents increase year on year

Companies are being urged to foster a culture of safety in a bid to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths.

Research from the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) shows that non-fatal work-related incidents per 100,000 workers have been increasing each year since 2020.

The number of accidents decreased significantly in 2020 as a result of COVID 19 restrictions, but have been rising steadily each year since then. This is partly due to the increased employment figures and revived economic activity following the lifting of restrictions.

There were 371 non-fatal work related incidents per 100,000 workers in 2023.

There was also a notable increase in workplace fatalities last year, with 43 people tragically losing their lives in work-related incidents, compared with 27 fatalities in 2022.

Sadly, another 16 people have died in work-related incidents in Ireland during the first six months of 2024, according to the latest figures from the Health and Safety Authority.

Farming is consistently among the occupations with the highest incidence of fatalities or injury in Ireland. Of the 43 fatalities reported in 2023, the majority occurred in agriculture, where there were 20 deaths. This was followed by construction, which suffered 11 deaths.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) are both calling on more employers across all sectors to appoint safety representatives within their workplaces.

Safety representatives are workers who serve as liaisons between management and staff, advocating for effective safety protocols.

“Under the current legislation, employees are entitled to elect a safety representative to represent them on safety and health matters with their employer,” said Owen Reidy, ICTU General Secretary.

“On construction sites where there are more than 20 people employed at any one time, the project supervisor for the construction stage must facilitate the appointment of a safety representative,” he added.

Mr Reidy says the issue of workplace fatalities and injuries is something that can be effectively addressed through better communication and procedures.

“Part of the tragedy of these losses is that we actually know how to stop workplace fatalities and injuries,” he said “The evidence is there. It involves workers and managers cooperating to create safe systems of work, to assess hazards and to reduce risks.”

“We’re urging employers and their workers to think about the task you’re asking others to carry out, or that you are about to undertake. Complete a risk assessment and make sure the right precautions are in place and nobody is putting themselves or others in danger.”

Read more:
Dangerous Practices and Procedures at Work

Call for more employers to appoint safety representatives (