Huge Rise in Construction Accident

fatalities in 2019

The Health & Safety Authority (HSA), Ireland, has reported that fatal accidents at work in Ireland increased by 140% in 2019, from 5-12. The main cause of the fatal accident was falls from heights particularly to workers employed in small construction Companies employing less than ten persons.

In the general economy 46 people died as a result of work place accidents last year, an increase from 39 who died in 2018 as a result of accidents at work.

The breakdown of the causes of these accidents is interesting: -

Most accidents were as a result of workers being trapped or crushed, struck by vehicles, falling, drowning or struck by a falling object. The Report also confirms that the most dangerous sector of the economy in which to work is Agriculture participation in which sector was the cause of 18 deaths in 2019 up from 15 in 2018.

Most victims of fatal accidents were male – 44 as against 2 female.

Wexford had the highest number of fatalities – 7, followed by Dublin 6, and Cork 5.

The HSA has identified a lack of proper risk assessments and implementation of Health and Safety Regulations as the primary cause of the significant increase in fatalities and accidents at work generally. During 2009 some 940 non-fatal incidents and dangerous occurrences were reported to the HSA. Clearly a significantly higher number than this occurred as many go unreported. Clearly there has been a very significant increase in the amount of Construction Sector activity in the economy generally over the last few years but the HSA does point out that the rate of construction fatalities has increased from 3.5 per 100,000 people employed to 8.2 per 100,000 employed.

The HSA is going to again endeavour to increase awareness and supervision of the sector and has stated that the larger Construction Firms have drastically improved their performance with regard to safety but the difficulty appears to be in the smaller or self-employed Construction Firms.

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This document is for information purposes only and does not purport to represent legal advice.  
© O’Rourke Reid 2020