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Sharp fall in Ireland’s fatal accident rate

Health and Safety Authority

Health and Safety Authority reports a 23% reduction in work-related fatalities in 2018

FIGURES recently released by Ireland’s Health and Safety Authority (HSA) show that 37 people were killed in work-related accidents in 2018, a decline of 23% on 2017 and the lowest figure since the establishment of the Authority in 1989.

The farming sector, which has consistently been the most dangerous sector in which to work, saw 15 work-related deaths last year compared with 25 in 2017, a decline of 40%. The fatal accident rate of 1.6 deaths per 100,000 workers is also now at an all-time low.

Dr Sharon McGuinness, chief executive officer of the HSA, said: ‘I very much welcome the decline in work-related fatalities in 2018. The fatality rate of 1.6 deaths per 100,000 workers is particularly significant given it was as high as 6.4 per 100,000 workers in the early 1990s.

Due to the efforts of employers, employees and key stakeholders, there has been a huge improvement in health and safety standards since then. However, with 37 people losing their lives in work-related activity in 2018, there is clearly still more to be done.

‘Although farming has also seen a very strong improvement in 2018, 15 fatalities, which represents 41% of total fatalities, is still far too many for a sector that employs just 6% of the workforce.

‘The next highest sector is construction with five deaths in 2018 (14% of the total), so both sectors will remain a key priority for us in 2019. I urge all stakeholders, particularly those in the farming and construction sectors, to focus their efforts to ensure 2019 sees a continuation of this very positive trend.’

Dr McGuinness added: ‘The economy is thriving with thousands of new workers joining the workforce each month. There are challenges ahead such as Brexit and also the fact that many employers are facing a skills shortage in certain sectors. In this context it is important that worker health and safety stays on the priority list. Safe and healthy employees are the backbone of any successful enterprise.’

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