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Construction industry continued to reduce fatalities in 2017

Construction Safety Week Day 1
construction industry fatalities 2017

Dermot Carey, CIF Director, Safety & Training

Construction fatalities dropped from 9 to 6 in 2017

Systematic behaviour change reducing fatalities

Ongoing systematic behaviour change in the construction industry has seen construction industry fatalities in 2017 drop by 33% from nine to six.

Health & Safety Authority (HSA) fatality figures for 2017 show an ongoing reduction in fatalities on site. All direct construction employee fatalities were in companies with less than 15 employees. One fatality was a member of the public involved in a road accident and one fatality related to a one-off housebuilding ladder accident.

Make 2018 the safest year in construction

“The CIF is asking companies to make 2018 the safest year in construction so far,” Tom Parlon, Director General, CIF says. “A huge amount of work has been done to change behaviour and instil strong safety cultures on sites across Ireland. However, fatalities and non-fatal injuries are often concentrated amongst the small enterprises and sole traders in the industry. We need to redouble efforts on getting the safety messages out there to all parts of the industry – especially to small enterprises and sole traders.

“Overall, construction is fifth in terms of non-fatal accidents. Considering we employ over 140,000 employees, delivering millions of hours of activity every year,” he continues. It’s evident that safety is a key focus for our companies. However, the very nature of construction work means that the potential for an accident is always present. Complacency can be a killer.

“As our industry continues to recover, more workers will be coming into the industry, and more companies will be formed. The construction industry has hired almost 1,000 additional workers per month over the last 50 months. We have a responsibility to constantly refresh awareness of Health & Safety on site to make sure new employees entering the industry have the knowledge and skills necessary to keep safe and well.”

HSA Statistics

The HSA recently released statistics on construction accidents showing:

  • The majority of the victims involved in construction accidents are small contractors and self-employed.
  • In 2017, six people died as a result of accidents on Irish construction sites.
  • There were five fatal falls from height in 2016 and two in 2017. All involved small contractors or self-employed construction workers.
  • Falls, slips and trips were the main cause of non-fatal accidents in construction in 2017, with movements such as lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, bending and twisting the next most common cause.

Complacency is a constant threat

Dermot Carey, Director Safety and Training, CIF comments: “While safety standards within the Irish construction industry are excellent and improving all the time, complacency is a constant threat. There are plenty of new workers coming into the industry at the moment, and HSA/ESRI research shows that new, inexperienced workers are more likely to have an accident.”