Cork’s workplace deaths are double Dublin’s

Toll of 90 fatalities between 2008 and 2017 is highest of any county

Nearly one-in-five workplace deaths in the last 10 years have occurred in Cork. That death rate is more than twice that of the county with the the next highest record.

The Health and Safety Authority revealed the figures as it launched ‘Workers’ Memorial Day’, which is scheduled for this Saturday.

There were 90 workplace deaths in Cork between 2008 and 2017. The peak was in 2011, when 13 people were killed while working.

Dublin was the next highest over the ten years, with 44 deaths, followed by Tipperary (30), Donegal (28), and Wexford (25).

Carlow had the lowest number, with just four workplace deaths in a decade, while Sligo, Westmeath, and Wicklow all had six each.

HSA figures show agriculture-forestry-fishing, as a single sector, had the most workplace deaths in that period, totalling 179. That was nearly double construction, which had the second highest number, at 90.

In transportation and storage, there were 36 deaths in the 10 years.

Three sectors overseen by the HSA — information and communication, financial and insurance activities, and real-estate activities — recorded no deaths in that period.

Accommodation and food service activities contributed to three deaths, as did education, while the electricity-gas-steam-air-conditioning sector had two deaths, the lowest in the time period.

Workers’ Memorial Day is supported by the Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, along with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), Ibec, and the Construction Industry Federation (CIF). They are all encouraging organisations to mark the occasion with awareness-raising initiatives.

Organisations have been asked to review their approach to safety and health in the workplace and to consider initiatives, such as in-house training sessions and toolbox talks and to promote safety through their websites, social media presence, and displays in offices.

“If you average out the number of fatal accidents over the last 10 years, nearly every week one person has died due to work activity,” Martin O’Halloran, chief executive of the HSA, said.

Clearly, prevention is the best course of action to take. Our message to organisations is simple: protect your people, your business and reputation, by identifying hazardous activity and putting plans in place to reduce risks.

“Don’t wait until an accident or near-miss occurs. Make safety paramount today,” he said.

Danny McCoy, chief executive of Ibec, said Workers’ Memorial Day was for everyone to refocus on preventing and reducing the incidence of fatalities and injuries.

“All employers and workers must place their and their colleagues’ personal safety, health, and welfare at the centre of their thinking and organisational culture. Ibec is also committed to supporting the many businesses that are showing their dedication to the health and well-being of their employees,” he said.

Patricia King, general secretary of ICTU, said ensuring the safety and welfare of all at work “can never be taken for granted”.

“It requires ongoing training, greater awareness, and better co-ordination in the workplace. Crucially, it also requires the input of trade unions and worker representatives into the decisions and policies that shape standards in their workplace. Congress would be supportive of any new initiatives or approaches that have, as their goal, the raising of health and safety standards across all workplaces,” Ms King said.


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