Employees injured in workplace accidents awarded €24m

Some €24m was awarded to employees injured in workplace accidents last year, with the highest award coming in at more than €400,000.

According to an analysis of 2013 workplace claims released by the Injuries Board, Thursday is the most likely day of the week for workplace accidents resulting in employer liability awards.

The body awarded compensation of €24m in respect of some 826 claims for workplace accidents last year, compared to €22m compensation for 807 awards in 2012.

The average award for a workplace accident last year increased from €27,286 in 2012 to €28,886 last year.

The average award for men was slightly higher at €29,523, while women received an average award of €27,441. Men are twice as likely as women to sustain a workplace injury, with men accounting for seven out of 10 awards.

While the vast majority of awards (80%) were under €38,000, the highest award for a workplace accident last year was €432,000, a substantial increase on the previous year’s figure of €332,143. The highest award in 2013 related to a fatal accident.

The majority of awards were to workers in the 25-34 age group (31.6%).

Dublin, Cork, and Limerick were the counties with the highest number of awards, whereas Leitrim, Roscommon, Sligo, and Longford had the lowest.

Injuries Board chief executive Patricia Byron said the rise in employment as the economic recovery gathers pace may explain the higher number of claims.

“From a peak rate of unemployment in 2012, increasing numbers of workers are rejoining the workforce. Perhaps reflective of this, our data shows a year-on-year increase in the number of awards made as a result of accidents in the workplace,” Ms Byron said.

“As the economy starts to grow again, and as businesses around the country begin to expand, it is important that a renewed focus on health and safety is cultivated.”

Ms Byron said employers and employees in specific areas need to adhere to the highest safety standards.

“Construction activities are likely to increase, as are the numbers of people driving for, or to and from, work. The onus is on us all — business owners, sole traders, and employees — to promote and adhere to the highest levels of health and safety compliance,” she said.

“While we do not tend to receive many claims for injuries resulting from farming accidents as, in the main, most farmers are their own employers, we are particularly cognisant of the high levels of accidents in the farming industry and echo the advice and concerns of the Health & Safety Authority,” Ms Byron said.


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