The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) have published figures on work-related deaths in 2018 and reported the lowers number of fatalities since the founding of the HAS twenty years ago in 1989.
The fatality rate for workers is now set at 1.6 deaths per every 100,000 workers in the country, the lowest level ever. Agriculture has long been deemed the most dangerous working sector in the country, though the sector also witnessed decreases of its own.
There were a total of 15 work-related deaths in the farming sector in 2018, a 40% decrease from the 25 deaths in 2017. In total, 37 people were killed in work-related accidents in 2018, a decline of 23% from 2017.
The decreases were welcomed by the CEO of the HSA.
“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 1990’s.” said Dr. Sharon McGuinness, Chief Executive Officer of the Health and Safety Authority.
“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”. She added.
Dr. McGuinness noted that although the agricultural sector has seen vast improvements in the number of fatalities, fifteen is just too high.
“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 5 deaths in 2018 (14% of the total) so both sectors will remain a key priority for us in 2019.” She noted.
“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 that the health and safety of workers should always be high on the priority list and said safe, happy employees are the backbone of any thriving enterprise.
“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”. Dr. McGuinness concluded.