SIPTU has stepped up demands for increased safety measures on building sites today following the deaths of three construction workers this week.
Eric Fleming, the Dublin Construction Branch Secretary, said the death rate would remain high as long as the penalties for those brought before the court for negligence remained low.
He said: "The penalties imposed on those responsible for the deaths and injuries caused to workers in the building industry are derisory and do not reflect the seriousness of the loss caused to workers and their families.''
The Building and Allied Trades Union has also called for higher penalties for breaching safety rules.
Spokesman Denis Farrell said his organisation predicted there would be more deaths and serious injuries unless changes were made in the construction industry.
"Nobody likes to be proved right by such an event, but unless there are changes to the way people work, and the issues are tackled, these accidents will continue," he said.
Yesterday, one man died and two others were seriously injured when the concrete staircase collapsed in a new building in the Ringsend district of Dublin.
That followed two deaths earlier this week when trenches collapsed on workmen in Dublin and Dunleer, Co Louth.
A total of 20 construction workers have died after on-site accidents in Ireland this year.