Farmers most at risk of workplace death

Official figures, released this week by the Health and Safety Authority show there were 46 people killed in work-related accidents during 2013, compared to 48 in 2012.

There were reductions in fatalities in the agricultural sector, down to 16 from 21 in 2012, but farmers are still the most at risk workers.

Eleven people were killed in workplace accidents in the construction sector and a four people died at work in the fishing sector in 2013.

Four children died in accidents on Irish farms last year.

Health and Safety Authority CEO Martin O’Halloran said some jobs are more hazardous than others but deaths at work are not inevitable and can be prevented.

“I am particularly concerned that four children lost their lives due to work-related accidents on Irish farms last year,” he said. “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 people killed, making it the third year in a row that fatalities increased in the sector.

The main causes were the movement of vehicles on site and falls from height.

Mr O’Halloran said 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.”

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