The number of people who died in workplace related accidents fell by 23% last year, according to a report issued by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) earlier this month.
Even so, 37 people lost their lives in workplaces in 2018 – 10 fewer than in 2017. This is the lowest figure since the establishment of the HSA in 1989.
Agriculture continues to be the most dangerous industry to work in, with 15 farming fatalities in 2018. Although this figure is down 40% on last year, it still accounted for 41% of overall workplace fatalities in 2018.
Construction was also flagged as a hazardous workplace, with five deaths occurring in the sector. The HSA said it would prioritise agriculture and construction in 2019.
HSA chief executive Sharon McGuinness acknowledged the efforts of employers, employees and stakeholders in the improved figures. “There has been a huge improvement in health and safety standards. However, with 37 people losing their lives in work related activity in 2018 there is clearly still more to be done,” she said.
Fórsa official and health and safety representative Dessie Robinson welcomed the report and said a change in health and safety culture was one of the main contributing factors in the noticeable reduction in workplace fatalities.
“It’s great to see the emergence of a health and safety culture in the workplace,” he said. “It’s important that we encourage this and keep it at the forefront of employers’ and employees’ minds. Improved practices and increased awareness will continue to keep workers safe and the number of fatalities low.”
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