The proportion of workplace deaths taken up by agriculture related accidents has decreased from the same period in 2014.
The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has released a report revealing that, in total, fifty-five employees died in Ireland in 2015 as a result of workplace related injuries.The total number of workplace fatalities in Ireland in 2015 was the same as seen in 2014. However, significant changes in the distribution of fatal accidents at work. Fatalities in agriculture accounted for eighteen reported deaths in 2015, just over half of the number seen in 2014 (30 deaths). This figure included the deaths of three children who were struck by falling objects or moving vehicles.
In contrast, construction related workplace fatalities in Ireland increased from eight in 2014 to eleven in 2015. The fishing industry also saw an increase in fatal accidents from one in 2014 to five in 2015.
Around two-thirds of work-related deaths occurred in small businesses (fewer than ten employees) or where those who died were self-employed–mainly in the agriculture, construction, and fishing industries.
The report also released figures relating to cause of death. Twenty-one of the workplace fatalities in Ireland were related to accidents involving moving vehicles, while fifteen employees were killed as a result of a fall from height and thirteen others died as a result of being crushed or trapped by machinery. Drowning was the main cause of the remaining workplace deaths.
The Assistant Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority – Brian Higgisson – said the Authority will be looking for further improvements and reductions in accidents during 2016. He said in a press release: “All work-related deaths are tragic and while we must cautiously welcome the reduction in agriculture fatalities, it is still the most dangerous occupation and that needs to change. There are high levels of safety and health awareness in Irish workplaces and we must ensure that this translates to changes in behaviour and fewer accidents in all the sectors this year.”
Mr Higgisson continued: “We will continue to direct resources to the high-risk sectors, but health issues such as those caused by exposure to asbestos, dust, noise and manual handling are also major risks in the workplace. These hazards account for more working days lost than injuries and we intend to increase our focus on these topics during 2016.”