Siptu: Work-related deaths underreported

The number of work-related deaths per year is estimated to be around 20 times higher than the official figure, Siptu claimed today.

The union said the average official death-toll of 60 only accounted for on-the-job incidents and did not include fatalities through work-related illnesses which pushed the figure to 1400.

Trade union umbrella group Congress is holding a special conference today calling for tougher penalties for those who put workers in danger and for the proper counting of work deaths.

Sylvester Cronin, Siptu health advisor, said the Government must acknowledge a higher death toll.

“According to International Labour Organisation statistics these deaths amount to approximately 1,400 per year, yet Ireland’s official statistics average around sixty fatalities per year,” he said.

“Ireland’s official statistics count only those workers killed as a result of an accident inside the workplace. They omit to count deaths caused by work-related illnesses and diseases.

“They also exclude work-related deaths caused by road traffic accidents.”

Mr Cronin also hit out the lack of resources for workplace inspections.

“With 200,000 workplaces and only around 14,000 inspections a year a work place in Ireland can expect a visit from a HSA inspector, on average, once every 14.5 years,” he said.

As part of its contribution to Workers’ Memorial Day, Congress is hosting a special half day conference calling for stronger penalties for those who put people at risk and the proper counting of those injured or killed at work.

Speakers at the event in Dublin’s Gresham Hotel include Ictu chief David Begg and Martin O’Halloran, Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority.

The conference will be chaired by Eamon Devoy, General Secretary Designate of the TEEU and Vice Chair of the HSA.

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