Health & Safety Authority confirms 26 work-related fatalities in 2022

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*Construction and Farming sectors account for almost three quarters of all work-related fatalities

Provisional data from the Health & Safety Authority (HAS)  shows that 26 people lost their lives in work-related incidents in 2022 compared to 38 in 2021, representing the lowest figure recorded since the Authority was established over thirty years ago.

 Summary of statistics reported by HSA are as follows:

  • Fatal incidents happened to victims from all age groups, the highest number involved people between 55-64 years with 10 fatalities
  • The age groups 55-64 and 65 years and over represents 69% of all fatalities in 2022, with these age groups representing 19% of employees in Ireland (CSO figures up to end of Q3 2022)
  • Falling from height (9 fatalities) and loss of control of a vehicle or its attachments (7 fatalities) were the leading causes of work-related fatalities in 2022
  • Farming saw 12 fatalities recorded in 2022 compared to 10 in 2021, with it remaining the sector with the highest number of fatalities
  • Dublin, Galway and Wexford recorded the highest level of fatalities with three in each county
  • No fatalities were recorded in 2022 in counties Carlow, Clare, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Sligo and Wicklow
  • Of the 26 fatalities in 2022, 10 were employees, 13 were self-employed and 3 were non-workers
  • Of the 26 fatalities in 2022, 25 were Male and 1 was Female
  • The transport and storage sector recorded a decline of 83% with one fatality in 2022, compared to six in 2021
  • Manufacturing recorded no fatalities in 2022, compared to five in 2021

Releasing provisional annual statistics for 2022, the Health and Safety Authority welcomed a decline of over 30% to 26 work-related fatalities in 2022 from 38 in 2021, the lowest figure recorded since the Authority was established. This decline comes against a 3.4% increase in employment figures (Q3 2022 versus Q3 2021).

While the confirmed number of work-related fatalities this year is the lowest recorded, it is important to point out that there are ongoing investigations that may see the reported/recorded number of fatalities increase.

Commenting on the HSA’s provisional data on fatalities in Irish workplaces, Mark Cullen, Interim Chief Executive at the Health and Safety Authority said, “It is positive to see such a substantial decline in work-related fatalities in 2022. However, our view is that every work-related death is preventable and vigilance around health and safety in Irish workplaces is still imperative. Christmas this year for the families and friends of all those killed in workplace incidents will have been a difficult one and our thoughts are with them”.

The HSA reports show that falling from height (9 fatalities) and loss of control of a vehicle or its attachments (7 fatalities) were the leading causes of work-related fatalities in 2022.

Mark added: “We see a large number of fatalities relating to working at height and vehicle handling. We also know from the data that the age groups 55 and over represents 69% of all fatalities in 2022, with these age groups representing 19% of employees in Ireland. As Ireland’s labour force is aging, we must all look to our work place practices, and ensure that health and safety is being prioritised across all workforce age groups.”

Farming continues to be one of the most dangerous sectors in which to work, and sees an increase with 12 fatalities recorded in 2022 compared to 10 in 2021.

We are urging employers and their workers to think about the task you’re asking others to carry out, or that you are about to undertake. Complete a risk assessment and make sure the right precautions are in place and nobody is putting themselves or others in danger.  As evident in our records for 2022, if working with heavy machinery or at a height, be particularly vigilant and take the appropriate care”.

In relation to the construction sector which saw a decline in fatalities in 2022, Mark said, “The construction sector saw a decline of 30% with 7 fatalities in 2022 compared to ten in 2021. We welcome this lower number, but are all too aware of this industry being one of the most dangerous. We would ask that smaller sites and contractors in particular continue to ensure that their own and their workers’ safety is a priority every day.”

The Health and Safety Authority has guidance and supports available across industry sectors in Ireland and the www.BeSMART.ie tool is freely available to employers and employees. Information across industry sectors is also available at www.HSA.ie.