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February 2024
Sarah Conroy and Jackie Cunningham


On 20 November 2023, the Health & Safety Authority (HSA) published its Annual Review of Workplace Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities for 2021-2022. This report details causes and characteristics of injuries, illnesses and fatalities that occur in workplaces across Ireland. The report combines data from three sources which are:

  • the HSA’s database of all non-fatal incidents reported to it;
  • the HSA’s comprehensive register of all work-related incidents resulting in a fatality; and
  • Central Statistics Office (CSO) data from 2021 on days lost due to work-related injuries and illnesses as a module in its Labour Force Survey.

The report acknowledges that there are limitations to this data. Specifically, the HSA database of non-fatal incidents is limited due to under-reporting in certain sectors, whilst the CSO data is derived from a survey that contains less detailed information and for which the sample size is small.

They key points of the report are summarised below.


  • There were 28 reported work-related fatal incidents in 2022, the lowest number in any year since the HSA was established in 1989. This represents a 26% decrease since 2021 when there were 38 such incidents.
  • Construction is the second highest sector for fatal accidents (7) after Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (13).
  • The most common causes of fatal incidents were falls from a height (11, 39%), falls as a result of loss of control of means of transport (10,36%)) and falling objects (2, 7%).
  • There were victims across all age groups except for the 18-24 years group, but the highest number involve those aged 55-64 years (10, 36%).
  • All but one of the 28 victims were male.


  • The 9,070 non-fatal injuries that were reported in 2022 were 8% higher than 2021, 16% higher than 2020 and 3% lower than 2019. The increase was likely due in part to the increase in employment figures and revived economic activity in 2022 following the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Manual handling and falls were the most common triggers, as they consistently have been since 2018.
  • The single most common trigger was manual handling leading to internal injury (2,712, 30%)
  • The most injured part of the body for workers was the back, associated with 26% of non-fatal accidents.
  • 432,000 work days were lost due to work-related injuries. This fell short of the five year-average of 604,040 for 2017-2021.
  • The number of days lost due to work-related illnesses rose by 16% from 987,600 (2017-2021 average) to 1,175,000.
  • The three sectors with the highest rates of non-fatal injury leading to four or more days absence from work were Transportation and Storage, Human Health and Social Work Activities, and Construction.


  • 3 of the 28 victims of fatal injuries, and 363 (4%) of the 9,070 victims of non-fatal injuries were non-workers.


The HSA’s report highlights the importance of ensuring that workplace risk assessments are regularly carried out and reviewed, with suitable precautions and controls established. This is with a view to ensuring both worker and non-worker safety and reducing exposure to HSA investigations.

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