Archive for January, 2016

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Minister Nash launches Health and Safety Authority “Strategy Statement 2016-18”

Wednesday 27th January

  • Increased focus on work-related health risks
  • Safe use of chemicals in the workplace and by the general public a key goal
  • Continued prioritisation of high risk farming and construction sectors
Minister for Business and Employment, Ged Nash TD, this morning (Wednesday 27th January) launched the Health and Safety Authority’s new Strategy Statement 2016-18. The new strategy focuses on ensuring that workers and those affected by work activity return home safely and that everyone is protected from the harmful effects of chemicals. The strategic priorities for 2016-18 are: Health: Increase the focus on work-related health risks. Safety: Maintain and develop the advances achieved in the management of work-related safety risks. Chemicals: Focus on the risks to human safety and health arising from chemicals used at work and by the general public. Accreditation: Provide an impartial, internationally recognised accreditation service, responsive to market demands through the Irish National Accreditation Board. How We Work: Continue to change and transform the way we work. Launching the strategy, Minister Nash said, “Every worker in the country is entitled to a safe and healthy place of work and to return home to their families safe and well. We’re now in a phase of strong economic growth, businesses are rapidly expanding and new jobs are being created on a daily basis. It’s vital that we continue to prioritise the safety and health of all workers in a way that promotes business growth, aids competitiveness and protects workers. A safe and healthy workforce is an essential component of any successful enterprise. “I particularly welcome the Authority’s focus on small and medium-sized businesses. These businesses, the backbone of the economy, need simple tools and guidance that will help them effectively manage workplace safety and health. The Authority has been at the forefront in meeting this challenge with the introduction of, for example, its free e-learning portal and BeSMART online tool. This is the type of innovation that makes a difference and helps enterprises in a very practical way.” Martin O’Halloran, Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority said, “Our strategy has been developed for a period where we expect to see the continued recovery of industry sectors that were badly affected by the recession. It’s important that this recovery is not jeopardised by poor standards of workplace safety and health. We will continue to work with all our partners and stakeholders to support economic growth, meet our goals and deliver effective use of our resources.” Michael Horgan, Chairman of the Health and Safety Authority said, “A strong focus on innovation and the optimal use of State resources was a key factor in the development of this strategy. The concept of the Authority working smarter was a cornerstone of the Board’s contribution to the strategic planning process. I’m confident that this strategy lays a strong foundation for a more agile organisation that will help in the achievement of our noble purpose of healthy, safe and productive lives.” Download the report here >>

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55 People killed in work-related accidents in 2015

Agriculture fatalities down by 40% Figures released by the Health and Safety Authority today (Wednesday 6th January) show that 55 people were killed in work-related accidents in 2015. This is exactly the same number of fatalities that occurred in 2014. Fatalities in agriculture were down by 40%, with 18 deaths reported compared to 30 in 2014. However, construction fatalities increased from eight in 2014 to 11 in 2015 and the fishing sector also saw an increase from one in 2014 to five in 2015. Incidents involving vehicles were the main cause of fatal accidents in the workplace, accounting for 21 of the total. Fifteen people were killed as a result of falls from height, the second most common cause of death. Two-thirds of work-related deaths (37 of 55) occurred in businesses with fewer than 10 employees, mainly in agriculture, construction and fishing. There were four child fatalities in 2015, all of which occurred in agriculture. The county with the highest number of fatalities in 2015 was Cork with 10 reported, followed by Donegal with six. Brian Higgisson, Assistant Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority, said the Authority will be looking for further improvements and reductions in accidents during 2016: “All work-related deaths are tragic and while we must cautiously welcome the reduction in agriculture fatalities, it is still the most dangerous occupation and that needs to change. There are high levels of safety and health awareness in Irish workplaces and we must ensure that this translates to changes in behaviour and fewer accidents in all the sectors this year.” Brian Higgisson said that along with the agriculture and construction sectors, there will also be an emphasis on work-related health risks in 2016: “We will continue to direct resources to the high-risk sectors, but health issues such as those caused by exposure to asbestos, dust, noise and manual handling are also major risks in the workplace. These hazards account for more working days lost than injuries and we intend to increase our focus on these topics during 2016.” Click here for a full breakdown of fatalities by sector and county.

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