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46 people killed in workplace accidents last year

The HSA said it was particularly concerned about the deaths of four children on farms in 2013.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THERE WERE 46 people killed in work-related accidents over the course of 2013, figures from the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) reveal.

The figure for last year is down slightly on 2012’s figure of 48 deaths, with a reduction from 21 to 16 in the agriculture sector, which remains the sector with the highest instance of workplace fatalities. Four children are included in the number of people who lost their lives on Irish farms last year.

Martin O’Halloran, CEO of the HSA, commented that the authority will “never accept that these deaths are inevitable and cannot be prevented”.

“We are working to foster a culture of safety in the sector but high accident rates show that the pace of change is too slow,” he said. “I am calling on farmers to make 2014 the safest year on farms ever recorded.”

Construction

The construction sector recorded the second highest number of fatalities with 11 killed in 2013, making it the third year in a row that fatalities increased in this sector. The main causes were the movement of vehicles on site and falls from height.

O’Halloran said that while he welcomed any news that the construction sector is recovering, he is concerned at the increased fatality rates.

The industry did previously have a poor safety record and, to its credit, industry stakeholders got together and worked on improving standards. We cannot allow those gains to be eroded, especially in the context of economic recovery and the anticipated increase in construction activity.

Tragedy

Fatalities in the fishing sector fell from seven to four in 2013 and deaths of workers in water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities were also down.

Generally, most of the incidents involved vehicles at work and the highest number of fatalities last year was 12 in Cork. Dublin and Waterford recorded the second highest number of fatalities with four in each.

Of the 46 killed in work-related accidents in 2013, there were eight non-worker fatalities, the HSA said.

While the overall number each year is declining, O’Halloran said “the fact is that each year people still lose their lives because of a work-related accident”.

“This is a tragedy for the victims, their families, friends and the wider community,” he added. “Generally our investigations show that these tragedies could have been prevented.”

Read: Teen dies after suspected electrocution on Limerick farm>

Read: Farmers’ association urges caution as busy farms signal rise in accidents>

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