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Concern at high number of workplace fatalities occurring in Cork

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 County has recorded highest number of workplace deaths over last four years

 10th April 2014

 Following a detailed review of workplace deaths, the Health and Safety Authority has today (Thursday 10th April) expressed serious concern at the high number of workplace fatalities that have occurred in recent years in County Cork. During 2012 there were nine people killed in work-related accidents in Cork; five in the fishing sector, two in construction, one in agriculture and one in public administration.

Last year, 2013, saw a worsening picture with twelve people killed in work-related accidents in the county; six in agriculture, four in construction, one in education and one in fishing. Waterford and Dublin were the counties with the next highest number of deaths with four in each.

Speaking about the alarming number of deaths, Brian Higgisson, Assistant Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority said that the fatality numbers in Cork have been consistently higher compared to any other county for the last number of years. “We usually analyse fatalities by economic sector but we cannot ignore the fact that for five of the last six years there have been more fatalities in Cork than in any other county. We have a significant presence in the county and our inspections cover all sectors, we plan to carry out additionalinspections across the county this year. We will also provide support to stakeholder initiatives in addressing the situation.”

“While inspections and enforcement are important, increased awareness and good workplace safety practice will reduce accidents. I would encourage self-employed people to give priority to safety in their work activities and I would ask employers and employees to work together to make all workplaces safer. The approach of our inspectors is to work with and help those who want to improve and to take enforcement action only where absolutely necessary.”

The trend in relation to high risk industry sectors in Cork is reflected nationally. The agriculture, fishing and construction sectors, which largely involve self-employed individuals, are the most hazardous sectors to work in regardless of location. There is a high concentration of dairy farms in Cork and research shows that this type of farming is highly pressurised and potentially hazardous. Also, fishing and construction are important industries and are identified as high risk activities. This year the Authority will roll out specific inspection and awareness campaigns targeted at those sectors.

There have been twelve fatalities nationally so far this year, with two in Cork; one in agriculture and one in construction. For free workplace health and safety guidance and information, contact the Health and Safety Authority on LoCall 1890 289 389 or visit www.hsa.ie.



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