The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has published its Annual Report 2021 highlighting the broad scope of work activity carried out during the year, including its range of tools and supports to enable enterprises, employers and employees to meet their statutory obligations for the goods they manufacture or import, while ensuring they keep themselves, and their workplaces healthy and safe. In this, the final year of its strategic cycle, the Authority also laid the groundwork in 2021 for its next strategy, which will see the organisation grow significantly to deliver an additional focus on occupational health hazards, in particular those associated with psychosocial and ergonomic risks, and exposure to chemical and biological agents.
There was a reduction of almost a third in the number of workplace fatalities last year, 38 were reported in total, down from 54 the previous year, making it the lowest number of workplace fatalities recorded in a year since the Authority was established in 1989.
Key highlights from the 2021 Annual Report include:
- A total of 7,477 inspections were completed across all sectors in 2021, with a further 1,109 investigations completed on foot of incident reports and complaints received.
- Of the 7,477 proactive inspections in 2021, 1,383 inspections were completed in relation to chemicals and of these 666 inspections were carried out in relation to carriage of dangerous goods by road (ADR).
- Market Surveillance activities resulted in 87 chemical product types being removed from the Irish market and an additional 61 products being removed from sale to the general public due to non-compliances with labelling and packaging requirements. A total of 970 chemical products and 150 industrial products on the Irish market were assessed for compliance with technical requirements.
- The Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB) awarded 18 new accreditations with a further 342 decisions on re-accreditation being made. 23 new applications for accreditation were also received by INAB in 2021, with 166 applications for extension to scope received from existing accredited clients.
- In 2021 INAB developed a future-focused strategy for accreditation 2022–2026. This is the first such strategy statement for accreditation in Ireland and has been developed to recognise the role accreditation will play in supporting Government, enterprise, regulators and consumers now and in the future.
- 2021 saw a welcome reduction in work-related fatalities, with a total of 38 reported compared to 54 in 2020, a decline of 30% and the lowest recorded since the Authority’s formation in 1989.
- A range of free Enterprise, Employer and Employee supports continue to draw significant engagement and in 2021 alone there were:
Welcoming the HSA Annual Report 2021, the Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD, said, “Although the Health and Safety Authority saw a lower work-related fatality figure of 38 in Ireland last year, their continued focus is vital in areas such as farming, healthcare and construction where there is higher risk of occupational injury or illness. The HSA has been very successful in promoting use of their many free online tools, courses and supports and I’d encourage all employers and workers, including the self-employed, to avail of them.”