Workplace fatalities increased by 13% in 2020

Workplace fatalities increased by 13% in 2020

The HSA’s Annual Review reveals that workplace fatalities increased by 13% in 2020.

6 July 2021
The HSA has today published its Annual Review of Workplace Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities. Of the 53 work-related fatalities in 2020, 28 or 52.8% were self-employed, 12 were employees (22.6%) and 13 were non-workers (24.5%).

More than half of those who died last year were self-employed with 18 of those working in agriculture, forestry and fishing, seven in construction, two in wholesale and retail trade and one in accommodation and food service.

Welcoming the new report, the Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD, said “There are approximately 300,000 self-employed people in Ireland, most of whom work alone, juggling a myriad of skills, who might consider time spent on health and safety issues important, but not urgent. These are the people who have the most to lose if they have an incident or serious illness. The HSA have many free tools, courses and supports available and I’d encourage all employers and workers, including the self-employed, to avail of them or to contact the HSA for advice.”

In 2020, the most common causes of fatal accidents were loss of control of means of transport (16, 30.2%), fall from height (seven, 13.2%), fall of object from above (six, 11.3%) and entering dangerous area (six, 11.3%).

Of all the workplace fatalities in 2020, 18 of the deceased were aged over 65. The proportion of fatal accidents involving workers aged over 65 years has increase from 7.4% in 1990 to 34% in 2020.
Annual Report
The HSA also today published its Annual Report which outlines its many activities and achievements throughout the year, including:

  • The Workplace Contact Unit handled 28,684 contacts in 2020, 39% more than in 2019. Of the 28,684 contacts received, over a third or 9,982 were requests for information in relation to COVID-19.
  • The numbers registering to use the HSA’s free safety statement and risk assessment tool,, increased by 15% in 2020. There were 11,868 new registrants in 2020 – the highest on record, compared with 9,967 new registrants in 2019.
  • The online farm risk assessment tool,, also recorded an increase, with 13,227 registered users in 2020, compared to 11,502 registered users in 2019.
  • 52,644 online health and safety courses,, were taken in 2020 – the highest on record, and 60% more than the number of courses taken in 2019.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Dr. Sharon McGuinness, CEO, HSA, said “Unfortunately, we have seen work-related fatalities happening to victims from all age groups. Of the 13 non-workers to die in work-related fatalities in 2020, five were aged under 18 years old. This drives home the need for appropriate procedures to be put in place to protect everyone in a workplace, be they employees, customers or visitors. Proper risk assessments and health and safety considerations must be implemented in all workplaces to ensure everyone’s safety. No job is worth a loss of life, injury or illness.”
To read the Health and Safety Authority’s Annual Review of Workplace Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities 2019 -2020 click here!OHSMXC.

To read the Health and Safety Authority’s Annual Report click here!26HG9R