Belfast Telegraph

Serious injuries in Northern Ireland's workplaces up 27% in past year

Serious workplace accidents are on the rise.
Serious workplace accidents are on the rise.

Serious injuries in Northern Ireland's workplaces have risen by 27% over the past year.

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) published its latest Annual Report on Monday.

All reportable injuries in the workplace have risen by 13% to 1,898.

However, fatalities are down 31% to 11, compared to 16 in the previous year.

Farm related fatalities increased by one with seven deaths and construction fatalities remained unchanged with three fatalities in 2017-18 as in the previous year.

During 2017-18 HSENI, in conjunction with local councils, raised the issue of ‘slips and trips’. Slips and trips are the most common cause of major injuries at work and make up over a third of all major injuries.

HSENI also carried out 6,233 inspections and served 216 formal enforcement notices where very poor practice was found.

Derek Martin, Chairperson of HSENI said that it was disappointing serious injuries in the workplace had increased.

“HSENI’s new draft Corporate Plan 2018-2023  focuses, not only on the causes of fatal accidents, but also on those activities and work areas where the most serious injuries and cases of ill health are known to occur. Over the coming years, these are areas which HSENI will collaborate with partners and industry sectors to drive the numbers down.”

HSENI’s Acting Chief Executive Bryan Monson said that farming still had a poor safety record.

"Any one of the four main causes – Slurry, Animals, Falls and Equipment – can cause a serious injury or farm death. Sadly in 2017/18 we are still seeing too many accidents of all types on farms," he said.

“HSENI and its partners in the Farm Safety Partnership will continue our efforts to provide information, advice and support, but it is vital that farmers play their part as well by making safety a priority on their own farms.

"Many of the risks encountered can be minimised by taking a moment to stop and think about safety and taking simple measures to keep themselves and other on the farm safe - failing to do so ultimately results in tragedy.”

“No matter what sector people work in, everyone has the right to come home safe and well after a day’s work but the statistics clearly show some parts of some industries need to do more. While HSENI is keen to advise companies on how to meet their legal requirements, we will not hesitate to take enforcement action where there is a clear danger to the health and safety of Northern Ireland’s workforce.”

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