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Blog  »  April 2016  »  Irish Workplace Fatalities above EU Average - Blog
Apr 16

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

Irish Workplace Fatalities above EU Average

The past 2 months have seen the deaths of at least 5 people due to accidents in the workplace. Ireland is slightly above the EU average in terms of the number of fatal accidents at work in a year, according to European Union's statistics agency, Eurostat. The statistics show that the rate of workplace deaths in Ireland was just over four per 100,000 people employed in 2012. The family farm was the most dangerous workplace, with fatalities in the agricultural sector accounting for 30 deaths in 2014, compared to 16 the previous year, an increase of 87pc.

The question therefore is: what can be done to ensure safety compliance? The Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work Acts 2005 and 2010 set out health and safety responsibilities for both employers and employees. 

Employers' duties

The employer has a duty to ensure the employees’ safety, health and welfare at work as far as is reasonably practicable. In order to prevent workplace injuries and ill health the employer is required, among other things, to:

  • Provide and maintain a safe workplace which uses safe plant and equipment
  • Prevent risks from use of any article or substance and from exposure to physical agents, noise and vibration
  • Prevent any improper conduct or behavior likely to put the safety, health and welfare of employees at risk
  • Provide instruction and training to employees on health and safety • Provide protective clothing and equipment to employees
  • Appointing a competent person as the organisation’s Safety Officer

Employees’ duties

The duties of employees while at work include:

  • To take reasonable care to protect the health and safety of themselves and of other people in the workplace
  • Not to engage in improper behavior that will endanger themselves or others
  • Not to be under the influence of drink or drugs in the workplace
  • To undergo any reasonable medical or other assessment if requested to do so by the employer
  • To report any defects in the place of work or equipment which might be a danger to health and safety

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