IMPACT trade union has said that more people returning to work, as the economy improves, means that the workplace inspection regime needs to keep pace with the growth in the workforce population.
The union said it wanted to highlight the importance of investment in improving workplace safety as part of Workers Memorial Day (Tuesday 28th April) which commemorates those who have lost their lives in work-related accidents.
Geraldine O Brien, assistant general secretary with IMPACT said “The Health and Safety Authority plays a vital role in preventing workplace death and injury. Workplace inspections are critical in maintaining standards and, as the economy continues to grow and more people return to work, we need to ensure that the rate of workplace inspection keeps pace with that growth.
“More people returning to work is great news after a period of severe mass unemployment. But we need to be vigilant, and ensure that the rate of death and injury at work does not increase in line with growing employment.”
Ms O’Brien said that, in the five year period between 2010 and 2014 in Ireland, 253 people were killed in work-related accidents and many thousands more badly injured. Fifty-six people were killed in workplace incidents in Ireland in 2014. Ms O Brien said that inspectors have worked harder than ever despite fewer resources. “There is a continued need for vigilance as we face into a time of increased industrial output and growth. We need to invest in more safety inspectors, to meet the safety demands of a growing workforce.”