– HSA Annual Report and Annual Review of Workplace Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities in 2020

According to the Health and Safety Authority’s (HSA) latest Annual Review of Workplace Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities, there was a total of 53 work-related fatalities in 2020. The largest number of fatalities, 23 (43.4%), occurred in agriculture, forestry and fishing, while there were 15 (28.3%) fatalities in construction, the second-highest level of fatalities. Construction fatalities, however, have shown considerable variation in recent years, dropping to five in 2017 and showing increases since then.

Overall, more than half of all people who died in work-related incidents in 2020 were self-employed. Seven victims in construction were self-employed, four were employees, and four were non-workers.

Fatalities by age

The highest number of fatal workplace incidents involved people aged 65 years and over (34%), with 12 in agriculture, forestry and fishing, and three in construction. There were six construction fatalities in the 45 to 54 year age bracket, making this the age bracket with the highest number of fatalities in construction.

HSA support

There has been a significant increase in the number of people contacting the HSA and availing of supports. According to the HSA’s annual report, its Workplace Contact Unit handled 28,684 contacts in 2020, 39% more than in 2019. Of the 28,684 contacts received, over a third or 9,982 were requests for information in relation to Covid-19.

The numbers registering to use the HSA’s free safety statement and risk assessment tool, BeSMART.ie, increased by 15% in 2020 – with 78,162 people registered in 2020, compared with 66,296 registered in 2019. There were 11,868 new registrants in 2020 – the highest on record, compared with 9,967 new registrants in 2019.

“More people are now aware of the importance of health and safety in the workplace. But health and safety must continue to be a top priority – as it can and will save lives,” said CEO of the HSA, Dr Sharon McGuinness. “Unfortunately, we have seen work-related fatalities happening to victims from all age groups. Of the 13 non-workers to die in work-related fatalities in 2020, five were aged under 18 years old. This drives home the need for appropriate procedures to be put in place to protect everyone in a workplace, be they employees, customers or visitors. Proper risk assessments and health and safety considerations must be implemented in all workplaces to ensure everyone’s safety. No job is worth a loss of life, injury or illness,” Dr McGuinness added.

Non-fatal accidents

In 2020, there were 7,417 non-fatal incidents reported, a reduction of 20% on the figure for 2019.

There were 758 (10%) non-fatal incidents reported in construction, with the top three reported incidents being: 239 slips or falls; 220 manual handling (internal injuries); and 118 being reported as a loss of control of an object, machine, vehicle, etc.

To access the Health and Safety Authority’s Annual Review of Workplace Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities 2019 -2020 click here https://www.hsa.ie/!OHSMXC 

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