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Workplace accidents

Lowest number of work-related fatalities since records began reported in 2021

Construction sites were the most dangerous workplace for 2021, with 10 deaths reported.

THE NUMBER OF work-related fatalities in 2021 were the lowest since the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) began to record the figures, according to their end-of-year report.

Provisional statistics released by the HSA this morning show that there was a 30% reduction in work-related fatalities in 2021 compared to 2020, with construction having the highest number of deaths this year

Overall, there were 38 work-related deaths reported in 2021 – a drop from the 54 work-related deaths that were reported in 2020.

The leading causes of work-related fatalities were loss of control of vehicles and falling from a height, with 12 and 10 fatalities reported respectively.

The construction sector saw the highest number of fatalities for 2021, with 10 deaths bein reported by the HSA. This was a reduction of 38% compared to 2020, where there were 16 fatalities recorded.

“The construction sector saw a 38% decline in work-related deaths with 10 workers losing their lives in 2021 following a spike in fatalities in 2020,” said Mark Cullen, Chief Inspector with the HSA.

“Of course, this is 10 deaths too many and smaller sites and contractors in particular need to ensure that worker safety is at the top of the priority list every day.”

The farming sector saw nine fatalities recorded in 2021, which is a decline of over 50% compared to 2020 when 20 fatalities were recorded. However, the HSA says that the sector still remains one of the most dangerous to work in.

“Farming continues to be one of the most dangerous sectors in which to work, but a 50% decline on the 2020 level of fatalities is encouraging and a sign that the safety message is getting through,” said Cullen.

“Our work in the farming sector will continue and I would urge all farmers not to become complacent and let’s make sure that this time next year we’re discussing even fewer lives lost.”

The HSA data also reports that two children, aged 16, were killed in work-related incidents this year.

The highest number of fatalities were in the 55-64 age bracket, with nine deaths, while there were eight deaths in the over 65 bracket and seven in the 35-44 bracket.

Counties Cork, Dublin and Wexford recorded the highest fatalities, with five in each county. There were no fatalities recorded in Kilkenny, Leitrim, Longford, Louth, Monaghan, Roscommon, Waterford and Westmeath.

While the HSA did welcome the drop in fatalities for 2021, they said that all work-related deaths are preventable.

“It is positive to see such a substantial decline in work-related fatalities in 2021.  However, our view is that every work-related death is preventable,” said Cullen.

“Christmas this year for the families and friends of these 38 individuals will have been a difficult one and our thoughts are with them.”

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