Cork most dangerous county for workplace deaths

Between the years 2010 to 2016, 353 workplace fatalities took place across Ireland, with a staggering 68 of those occurring in Cork.

That figure represents 19.26 per cent of all workplace fatalities that occurred during the six year period.

Cork has had almost three times the amount of workplace deaths as Dublin, which was the second most dangerous county to work in, with 25 deaths over the same period.

That means that Dublin only accounted for seven per cent of all worker fatalities, despite possessing over 40 per cent of the country’s population.

Sligo was the safest county to work in Ireland, with only two deaths in the six year period.

Cork, on the other hand, possesses 10 per cent of the population but nearly 20 per cent of all workers deaths.

Speaking about the shocking figures, Martin O’Halloran, CEO of the Health and Safety Authority, said: “We will never accept that these deaths are inevitable and cannot be prevented”.

“We are working to foster a culture of safety in the sector but high accident rates show that the pace of change is too slow,” he added.

Minister for Employment and Small Business Pat Breen said “As employment rates continue to rise, there is an increased need to highlights the importance of health and safety and the collective and individual responsibility to provide healthy and safe working environments. Any single death or injury is one too many. We must continue to strive towards high standards of safety in all workplaces-not only for the benefit of the existing workforce but for future generations of workers as well.”

Patricia King, Secretary general of Congress, was critical of the existing workplace safety standards and said that more needed to be done to tackle the tragedy of workplace deaths.

“There has always been what we regard as inappropriate use of ‘poor box’ donations in judgements handed down. Large fines send a clear signal that health, safety and welfare of workers must be treated seriously and we welcome recent judgements that are moving in that direction,” she said.

Employment representatives have reaffirmed their commitment to workers safety standards, with Tom Parlon, Director General of the Construction Industry Federation saying that “we strongly support the current regulatory regime” and Maeve McElwee, Director of Employment Relation at IBEC saying “we are calling on employers to redouble their engagement with health and safety issues.”

The ceremony to honour those who have died was held in Dublin on Friday where a wreath was laid in remembrance. Attending were Minister for Employment Pat Breen and various representatives of trade unions and employer groups.

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