Construction industry continues to reduce fatalities in 2017 

Ongoing systematic behaviour change in the construction industry has seen fatalities drop by 33% from 9 to 6 throughout 2017.

Health and Safety Authority fatality figures for 2017 show an ongoing reduction in fatalities on site. All direct construction employee fatalities were in companies with less than 15 employees. One fatality was a member of the public involved in a road accident and one fatality related to a one-off housebuilding ladder accident.

Tom Parlon, Director General, CIF said: 

The CIF is asking companies to make 2018 the safest year in construction so far. A huge amount of work has been done to change behaviour and instil strong safety cultures in sites across Ireland. However, fatalities and non-fatal injuries are often concentrated amongst the small enterprises and sole traders in the industry. We need to redouble efforts on getting the safety messages out there to all parts of the industry – especially the small enterprises and sole traders.

Overall, construction is fifth in terms of non-fatal accidents. Considering we employ over 140,000 employees, delivering millions of hours of activity every year, it’s evident that safety is a key focus for our companies.However, the very nature of construction work means that the potential for an accident is always present. Complacency can be a killer.

As our industry continues to recover, more workers will be coming into the industry and more companies will be formed. The construction industry has hired almost 1,000 additional workers per month over the last 50 months. We have a responsibility to constantly refresh awareness of health and safety on site to make sure new employees entering the industry have the knowledge and skills necessary to keep safe and well.”

The Health and Safety Authority recently released statistics on construction accidents showing:

  • The majority of the victims involved in construction accidents are small contractors and self-employed.
  • In 2017, 6 people died as a result of accidents on Irish construction sites.
  • There were five fatal falls from height in 2016 and 2 in 2017. All involved small contractors or self-employed construction workers.
  • Falls, slips and trips were the main cause of non-fatal accidents in construction in 2017, with movements such as lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, bending and twisting the next most common cause.

Dermot Carey, Director Safety and Training, CIF said:

“While safety standards within the Irish construction industry are excellent and improving all the time, complacency is a constant threat. There are plenty of new workers coming into the industry at the moment and HSA/ESRI research shows that new, inexperienced workers are more likely to have an accident.”

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