One workplace death recorded in Galway so far this year

Galway Daily news One workplace death recorded in Galway so far this year

Five people were killed in work-related incidents in the first three months of this year, one of whom was from Galway.

This is after three people lost their lives in workplace incidents in Galway in 2022, the highest number of deaths seen in the country.

This week a commemorative event was held by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Health and Safety Authority to honour those killed in the workplace.

The Workers’ Memorial Day ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin was organised with the support of Ibec, the Construction Industry Federation and the National Irish Safety Organisation.

Mark Cullen, Interim Chief Executive Officer of the HSA said, “As Ireland’s labour force is aging, we must all look to our workplace practices, and ensure that health and safety is being prioritised across all workforce age groups.”

“We’re urging employers and their workers this Workers’ Memorial Day 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.”

Mr. Cullen announced in his speech the Health and Safety Authority has recently set up a new Occupational Health Division, with a significant increase in resources, to help prevent workplace injuries and illnesses.

Some of the occupational health hazards they will be focused on tackling include burnout, work related stress, depression and anxiety, as well as ergonomic work-related illnesses such as bone, joint or muscle problems.

They will also look at violence and aggression in the workplace (which the HSA has seen in many sectors, including healthcare).

In Q1 of 2023, there were 2,162 reported work-related injuries or illness, reflecting a 2.95% increase compared to 2,100 for the same period in 2022.

The highest number of work-related injuries and illnesses, so far in 2023, were reported in counties Dublin (763), Cork (237) and Kildare (109).

The sectors with the highest number of reported injuries and illnesses in 2022 included human health and social work, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles and construction.

ICTU General Secretary Owen Reidy, said, “Part of the tragedy of these losses is that we actually know how to stop workplace fatalities and injuries. The evidence is there.”

“It involves workers and managers cooperating to create safe systems of work, to assess hazards and to reduce risks. It involves education and training for workers and management and support for the role of safety reps in our workplaces.”

“It requires monitoring, prevention, protection, and reporting. And it also requires compliance measures including inspections, and penalties for those who do not take their legal and moral responsibilities seriously.”

Of the 27 work-related fatalities recorded in 2022, 10 were employees, 13 were self-employed and three were non-workers.

Farming continued to be one of the most dangerous sectors in which to work, with 12 fatalities recorded in 2022.

The age groups 55-64 and 65 years and over represents 69% of all fatalities in 2022.

The Health and Safety Authority has guidance and supports available across industry sectors in Ireland and the tool is freely available to employers and employees.