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August 21, 2008

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Ireland second in fatal-accidents survey

Ireland’s construction sector has the second highest proportion of fatal accidents out of 25 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development OECD), according to Japanese academics.

Researchers at Teikyo University’s School of Medicine compared the number of fatal accidents against the total number of accidents recorded in each country, using International Labour Organisation data taken between 1993 and 1998.

Ireland was found to have a fatal accident rate in the construction sector of 333 deaths per 10,000 accidents — more than six times higher than the UK’s rate of 49 deaths. Only Turkey came out higher.

Reacting to the findings, the Irish Health and Safety Authority criticised the study, suggesting it was based on an unreliable measure. An HSA spokesperson said: “Comparing different countries on this basis is not comparing like with like, as the level of accident reporting in different countries will vary considerably. Using this methodology could simply be highlighting differences in accident reporting and not differences in fatality rates.

“A more accurate figure is the number of fatalities per 100,000 workers. In 2007, there were five fatalities per 100,000 construction workers compared with 11 per 100,000 construction workers in 2002.”

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