THERE were two work related fatal accidents in Co Clare last year, which is a slight rise from 2016 figures.
Both fatal incidents were in the agriculture sector, while 2016 saw one work related fatal accident with the tragic loss of Coastguard Caitriona Lucas.
There were 24 work-related fatalities in the Ireland’s agricultural sector in 2017 – accounting for more than half of the overall toll of 47 across all sectors, according to figures released by the country’s Health and Safety Authority (HSA).
It was the second year running that the deaths in agriculture had risen, with 21 deaths recorded in 2016 and 18 in 2015.
Liam Howe, Chair of the Ireland Branch of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), said the figure was of “serious concern”.
He also highlighted that 14 of those killed in the sector were men aged over 65.
He said: “There has been a rise in the number of people employed in the Republic of Ireland, to two million, which is pleasing to see. It is crucial that systems are in place to ensure these people are kept safe and healthy, no matter what the sector”.
Mr Howe referred to the number of deaths in agriculture as “appalling” and said it was not acceptable for people to be injured or killed at work.
“Many of those killed were men aged over 65. With the pension age rising, people will be working longer. This raises questions about how we look after an ageing working population.
“Sustained efforts are needed to support the sector. The HSA has done a lot of work, including farm safety courses and our branch has been involved in a lot of awareness raising, including our events. We intend to hold another event in the springtime this year,” he added.