Three people lost their lives in workplace accidents in Galway last year, according to official figures released this week from the Health and Safety Authority.
The fatalities included a 65-year old farmer/bus driver who was crushed by a teleporter on a construction site in October, a 61-year-old farmer who became trapped between a tractor and an attachment in May, and a 45-year-old Lithuanian garage worker who fell from a trailer in March.
Three people were killed in both Galway and Mayo in work-related accidents in 2013. The county with the highest number of fatalities was Cork (12 deaths ), followed by Dublin and Waterford (four deaths ) and Galway and Mayo (three deaths each ).
Forty-six people were killed in work-related accidents in Ireland in 2013 compared with 48 the previous year.
Commenting on the sector with the highest number of fatalities, Martin O’Halloran, the chief executive of the Health and Safety Authority said some jobs can be more hazardous than others.
“The number of fatalities in agriculture each year bears that out. However, we will never accept that these deaths are inevitable and cannot be prevented.”
He said he was particularly concerned that four children had lost their lives due to work-related accidents on Irish farms last year.
“We are working to foster a culture of safety in the sector but high accident rates show that the pace of change is too slow. I am calling on farmers to make 2014 the safest year on farms ever recorded.”
The construction sector recorded the second highest number of fatalities with 11 killed, making it the third year in a row that deaths increased in this area. The main causes were the movement of vehicles on site and falls from a height.
Mr O’Halloran stated that this was a cause for concern. “We welcome any news that the construction sector is recovering but I am concerned at the increased fatality rates.
“The industry did previously have a poor safety record and, to its credit, industry stakeholders got together and worked on improving standards. We cannot allow those gains to be eroded, especially in the context of economic recovery and the anticipated increase in construction activity.”
The number of fatalities in the transportation and storage sector increased from one in 2012 to four in 2013. Incidents involving vehicles at work accounted for 20 fatalities in 2013.
Of the 46 killed in work-related accidents nationally in 2013, there were eight non-worker fatalities; five in agriculture, two in retail and one in construction.