Health and Safety Authority Annual Report 2018

The Annual Report from the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) for 2018 shows that there were 39 work-related fatalities reported to the HSA last year, compared to 48 in 2017, a decline of 19%. Vehicles in the workplace was the biggest danger last year with 17 lives lost across all industries last year.

The farming sector suffered 40% fewer fatalities with 15 farm deaths reported in 2018 compared to 25 in 2017. The construction sector incurred 5 fatalities.

Pat Breen TD, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, said workplace deaths cause great trauma and personal suffering for families every year. While welcoming the decline in workplace fatalities, he said: “We should remember that any improvement in numbers provides little comfort to the family, friends and colleagues of the dozens of Irish people whose lives were cut short this year while doing their job.”

Vehicle safety

Chief Executive Officer of the HSA, Dr. Sharon McGuinness, said that the fatality statistics show how vehicles are now the biggest threat to life in the Irish workplace. “Whether it’s a farmer driving a tractor in a yard, or a truck driver delivering a load, across all sectors, incidents involving vehicles accounted for almost half – or 44% – of all deaths last year. The worrying trend is continuing with six deaths provisionally recorded so far this year in the transportation sector,” she said.

Tractors were involved in the majority of workplace vehicle incidents last year and claimed six lives but cars, refuse trucks and forklifts were also involved in fatalities.

Dr. McGuinness emphasised that a change in mindset is required to reduce the numbers dying or suffering serious injury as a result of workplace vehicles and warned that complacency is costing lives.

“Drivers at work often forget about the same hazards that they look out for when driving on the road, like properly maintaining their vehicles, and paying attention to pedestrians when reversing. These checks could help prevent a fatal catastrophe to themselves or a work colleague,” Dr. McGuinness concluded.

Brexit
Focusing on improving safety and reducing workplace deaths this year, the HSA has also been actively preparing Irish industry for the potential impact of the UK leaving the EU in 2019.

Tom Coughlan, Chairperson of the Health and Safety Authority, said that the Authority is particularly focused on the potential impact of Brexit in relation to areas such as chemicals, accreditation and industrial products.

“In addition to our focus on occupational health and safety, the HSA is working to deliver support and advice to Irish companies as part of the whole-of-Government work to get Ireland Brexit ready. The HSA is participating in a range of events to provide advice, including those organised by Government departments and agencies. I would strongly urge Irish companies to get ready now for Brexit,” he said.

Key figures

  • The HSA concluded 15 prosecution resulting in total fines of €705,972
  • Inspectors issued 452 improvement notices, 523 prohibition notices and 35 on-the-spot fines.
  • BeSMART.ie had 9,357 new users in 2018, increasing the numbers using the online portal to 56,329.

Source: www.hsa.ie