Organisations Urged to Foster a Culture of Safety

Organisations Urged to Foster a Culture of Safety

National Irish Safety Organisation was in attendance at a special, national commemorative ceremony to mark Workers’ Memorial Day Ireland, held at the Garden of Remembrance this morning, 29 April, 2024. Workers’ Memorial Day is an annual event dedicated to remembering workers who have lost their lives, been injured or contracted illnesses at or because of work.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) called on more employers across all sectors to appoint safety representatives within their workplaces. Organisations are being urged to foster a culture of safety in a bid to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths.

Families of victims joined the Minister of State with responsibility for Business, Employment and Retail Emer Higgins, as well as the representatives from NISO, the HSA, ICTU, Ibec and the Construction Industry Federation.

Workplace Fatalities

  • Nearly 460 people died in work-related incidents in Ireland between 2014 and 2023.
  • 43 people were killed in workplace incidents in 2023.
  • Working with vehicles and falling from heights were the leading causes of work-related fatalities in 2023.
  • So far this year, nine people have lost their lives in workplace incidents.

John McCann, 62, from Clondalkin in Dublin lost his life when he fell from a height on a construction site in Ringsend in Dublin in 2019. The McCann family attended today’s ceremony. Calling on employers to improve workplace safety, John’s daughter Denise McCann said: “For all employers listening, I beg of you, make health and safety your top priority.”

Despite the numbers in employment increasing, HSA records show an overall decrease in the rate of workplace fatalities per 100,000 workers in Ireland over the last ten years, from a rate of 2.8 in 2014 to 1.6 in 2023.

“We’ve made significant strides since the inception of the Health and Safety Authority in 1989, evident in the halving of the fatality rate,” said Conor O’Brien, Chief Executive Officer of the HSA.

“But there is still a huge amount of work to do and absolutely no room for complacency. As the economy continues to prosper and employment increases, it is vital that safety and health for all workers is prioritised.”

Workplace Fatalities in 2023 – Key Statistics

  • Of the 43 work-related fatalities recorded in 2023, agriculture, forestry and fishing accounted for 20 fatalities.
  • The construction sector accounted for the second highest fatalities, with 11 reported in 2023.
  • 53% of all workplace fatalities recorded in 2023 were self-employed, while 51% were workers aged over 55.

Minister Higgins stated that “Every workplace should prioritise the health and safety of its employees and do all in its power to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths.”