Work-related incidents resulted in the deaths of 38 people last year.
This is the lowest number of work-related fatalities since the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) was founded in 1989.
There was a 30% reduction in work-related deaths in 2021, with 54 workplace deaths recorded in 2020.
The most common causes leading to deaths in workplace settings were loss of control of a vehicle or its attachments (11) and falling from a height (11), which between them accounted for more than half of fatalities (58%). Four deaths occurred due to falling objects (11%).
European Week for Safety and Health at Work kicks off this Monday. We are focusing on the prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders.— Health and Safety Authority (@TheHSA) October 21, 2022
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Of the 38 work-related fatal incidents during 2021, 11 (29%) occurred in forestry, agriculture, and fishing, while 10 (26%) occurred in construction.
However, the 11 fatal incidents in 2021 represented the lowest recorded number of fatal incidents across those three sectors and was less than half that recorded in 2020.
Half of all fatal incidents in 2021 occurred to employees (19), with 13 fatalities occurring to self employed people, four to non-workers, and two to family workers.
The age cohort with the most work-related deaths was in those aged 65 years and over (nine, 24%).
The proportion of fatal incidents involving older victims aged 65 years or more has increased from 7% in 1990 (the first full year for which the Health and Safety Authority holds data), to 24% in 2021.
All but one of the 38 victims of fatal incidents were male. The female victim was a non-worker.
Today, as European Week for Safety and Health at Work commences, the HSA published its Annual Review of Workplace Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities 2020-2021.
Despite the upheaval in work and life throughout 2020 and 2021, the numbers of non-fatal incidents related to work has remained high, the report notes.
A total of 8,279 non-fatal incidents were reported to the HSA in 2021, an 8% increase on the figure for 2020, which is likely to be due in part to revived economic activity in 2021.
For work-related illnesses, the most common in 2021 were bone, joint, or muscle problems, followed by stress, depression, or anxiety. Some 597,000 work days were lost due to work-related injuries and 1,053,000 days were lost due to work-related illnesses in 2020.
Clear evidence that older self-employed men undertaking manual work are over-represented in injury and fatality statistics was established by the report.
“I welcome the fact that 38 fatalities in 2021 is the lowest number on record,” said HSA chief executive Sharon McGuinness.
"However, our view is that all of these fatalities are foreseeable and preventable."
“Much progress has been made but there is still a lot of work to be done.
“There have been improvements, but unfortunately the farming and construction sectors are still over-represented in our fatality figures, accounting for half of all work-related fatalities between them.
“Both sectors will continue to be key priorities for us.”