Lowest number of work-related fatalities recorded in 2021
Michelle McDonagh, Senior HR Client Relationship Consultant, AdareHuman Resource Management
Provisional figures published by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) at he end of December 2021 highlighted a significant decrease in the number of work-related fatalities in 2021. The figures showed a welcome 30% decrease in work-related deaths on the previous year, 2020.
The report highlighted 38 work-related fatalities in 2021, a drop from 53 in 2020. The main causes of fatalities were loss of control of vehicles and falling from a height, with12 and 10 fatalities reported respectively.
The main sector reporting fatalities in 2021 was the construction sector, with 10 deaths being reported. This was a reduction of 38% for the sector on 2020 when there were 16 fatalities recorded, with 15 recorded in 2019. The farming sector saw 10 fatalities recorded in 2021, which is a decline of over 50% compared to 2020 and 2019 when 20 fatalities were recorded in each year.
As a point of interest pre pandemic, in 2019 there were 47 work-related fatalities with Agriculture being noted as the most dangerous sector to work in.
Personal Injury Claims
Figures from the HSA in 2019 reported 9,335 non-fatal workplace injuries, which was an increase on the previous year. While the latest Annual Report from the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) highlights a significant drop in the number of applications it received in 2020, mainly due to the impact of Covid-19. According to PIAB, there was a decrease of 16% in the total number ofapplications it received last year with just over 26,000 claims. The total compensation awarded also saw a decrease, down €70m to €206m. The 2020 numbers also represent a decrease from 2019, when PIAB managed a total 31,072 personal injury claims, with 11,527 formal awards totalling €275.04 million.
It is worth remindingyourself about Employers’ responsibilities under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005, particularly in light of the more permanent change to remote and hybrid working by choice rather than as a temporary protective measure. Under the Act Employers are obliged to:
· Carry out an analysis or risk assessment of employee workstations,
· Provide and maintain safe equipment as necessary to ensure Employees can work safely,
· Provide information to employees in relation to new Health & Safety measures which have been implemented such as hand sanitising units, additional hand washing areas, clean-desk policies, particularly if there have been changes since they moved to remote working,
· Provide training to employees in the use of workstations before commencing work with display screen equipment and whenever the Organisation of the workstation is modified,
Note: Our experience is that many Organisations are looking at implementing a hybridworking model that involves hot-desking so it is important that Employees are trained in the principles of establishing a safe workstation. This will support them to work safely as they move from desk to desk and/or between home and office.
· Perform a further analysis or risk assessment where an employee transfers to a new workstation or significant new work equipment, change of equipment or new technology is introduced at anindividual’s workstation.
· Ensure that the provision of an appropriate eye and eyesight test is made available to every employee.
At Adare Human Resource Management, we have a Remote Working Training and Assessment Platform to help employers remain compliant. Employees can do their Remote Working / Working from home, training online, where they are taken through a series of exercises and questions toidentify potential risks. They then complete the assessment element, which produces a report for the Employer to analyse and take any corrective measures. It is an effective way to support Remote Working and help mitigate Personal Injury claims.