The Health and Safety Authority published its Annual Report for 2005 and its Summary of Fatality, Injury and Illness Statistics 2004-2005 on Tuesday May 9th. Much of the details that the Deputy seeks can be found in the latter report which contains detailed breakdowns on Injuries, Illness and Fatalities of workers across economic sectors.
Overall, there were 68 workplace deaths in 2003, 50 in 2004, 73 in 2005 and 13 so far in 2006. In the Construction Industry specifically, there were 20 deaths in 2003, 16 in 2004, 23 in 2005 and one so far in 2006.
In terms of injuries from work place accidents, data from the Central Statistics Office, Quarterly National Household Survey, shows overall levels of 21,900 injuries in 2003 and 21,840 in 2004, the last year for which data is available. The injury levels in construction were 5,300 in 2003 and 5,820 in 2004.
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, which I brought into operation on 1 September 2005, updates, repeals and replaces the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 1989 and provides a modern legal framework to guarantee best international practice in regard to health and safety in Irish workplaces.
There are over 200,000 workplaces in Ireland and in order to make best use of its resources, the Health & Safety Authority is once again in its Programme of Work for 2006 prioritising a number of sectors for attention. These include the high-risk sectors of agriculture, construction, and mines and quarries, as well as the health services, local authorities and process industries. Key actions in these sectors will include—
•a major national road show which will visit a minimum of 5,000 construction workers;
•the development of a farm "safety village" at the World Ploughing Championships and;
•the publication of codes of practice tailored to those employing three or less in the agriculture, quarrying, and construction sectors.
In relation to the Construction Sector specifically, the Authority plans to—
•carry out a focused programme of 7,500 construction site inspections covering appointment of duty-holders and assignment of responsibilities, safety and health plans and safety statements, work at heights, reversing vehicle safety, welfare and training arrangements;
•develop and implement a major promotional campaign;
•hold industry information briefings on the Construction Regulations targeting managers and designers and including vibration, noise, work at height, underground services, roof work, and the lifting equipment regulations;
•research the issues involved in the employment of non-English speaking workers; and,
•prepare guidance on construction-specific aspects of work at a height and progress draft codes of practice on pre-cast construction, concrete anchors, and client best practice.