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47 people died in workplace accidents last year (and 14 of them were elderly farmers)

New figures from the Health and Safety Authority show that there were 47 fatal accidents last year, up one from 46 the year before.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

A TOTAL OF 47 people died in workplace accidents across Ireland last year, with elderly farmers the most at risk group.

New figures from the Health and Safety Authority show that there were 47 fatal accidents last year, up one from 46 the year before.

Of the 47, 24 deaths were recorded in the agriculture, making it the eighth year in a row that the sector had the highest number of deaths.

Elderly farmers are the most at risk group, with 14 killed last year while working.

“We have seen fourteen elderly farmers killed this year, many of them working alone at the time of the accident,” said HSA chief executive Martin O’Halloran.

“Finding supports for elderly farmers or farmers working alone is something that needs to be addressed,” he said.

“The Health and Safety Authority will continue to do its part through inspection, awareness raising and education but safe farming has to happen every day, not just after an inspection.

We need to make this a fundamental part of farming culture, until it is we will continue to have devastation and carnage on our farms.

After agriculture, the construction and transport sectors had the highest number of fatalities, with six deaths each.

Five people died in the public administration and defence sector, making it the fourth most at risk group.

Across all sectors, accidents involving vehicles accounted for 21 of all deaths last year. A total of six people died from falls from height, making it the next most common cause.

The majority of deaths (28) involved 18-65-year-old men.

Dublin, Mayo and Cork recorded the highest number of deaths, with six each.

“We have over 2 million people at work and this is a positive development. However, this will lead to increased traffic and movement of vehicles in workplaces creating hazards that must be managed,” said O’Halloran.

“Regardless of the sector, where we have people and vehicles moving in close proximity, the danger is elevated.

These dangers are greatly reduced when everyone is aware of the hazards and safe systems of work are implemented.

Read: Waterways Ireland employee killed while carrying out work near canal in Leitrim

Read: Laois man dies after being struck by large fuse box at St Patrick’s University Hospital

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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