Death at work rate decreases but is still unacceptably high

Although workplace deaths fell last year it is too soon to conclude there is
a long-term downward trend

Deaths in the workplace fell by 15 per cent in the past year, but 249 people
still suffered fatal injuries, provisional statistics from the HSE have shown.

The figures for 2001/02 compare with 292 deaths in 2000/01. The rate of
fatal injury dropped from 1.03 to 0.88 per 100,000 workers over the same
period.

The number of fatal injuries to employees fell from 213 to 204, while fatal
injuries to the self-employed fell from 79 to 45.

Of the 249 fatalities, 79 occurred in the construction industry and 39 in
agriculture. A total of 68 deaths were because of falls from height, 43 were
from moving or flying objects and 40 from moving vehicles.

Health and Safety Commission chairman Bill Callaghan said despite the
decrease, there was much still to be done.

"It is too soon to draw conclusions on whether the 2001/2002 figures
represent a long-term downward trend," he said.

The latest figures were still 13 per cent higher than two years ago.
"Every death is one too many – and each causes pain and suffering for the
victim, their friends and family. The levels are still unacceptable," he
added.

The vast majority of fatalities occurred because employers failed to carry out
risk assessments or take appropriate action to minimise any risks associated
with the work.

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