The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has recently (June 2012) published its annual report for 2011. Also published was a summary of workplace injury, illness and fatality statistics.
The publications reveal that in 2011 54 workplace fatalities and 6,956 non-fatal workplace injuries reported to the HSA in 2011. During the same period there were 32 health and safety prosecutions of which 10 took place in the District Court and 22 cases were taken on indictment. The courts handed down fines totalling €819,700 and imposed 5 suspended prison sentences.
The fatality figures include a guest who died from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning in her hotel bedroom and others who died as result of coming onto collision with moving vehicles.
Manual handling was the main cause of non-fatal injuries, accounting for one third of the total figure. The second most common injury was caused by slips, trips and falls whereas the third most common event trigger was aggression, fright, shock and violence.
In 2011, HSA inspectors undertook more than 15,000 workplace inspections and investigations. Formal enforcement action was taken in 7% of cases.
The publication of these reports should serve as an additional reminder to businesses to carry out regular reviews of their policies, systems and procedures to ensure they are fit for purpose to protect the safety, health and welfare of workers and non-workers alike.
Further information can be found at www.hsa.ie.