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SF demands action to stop work place fatalities

9 May, 2006


Speaking following the publication of the Health and Safety Authority's annual report, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Employment and Workers Rights, Arthur Morgan T.D. demanded that the Government bring forward legislation on Corporate Manslaughter. He also asked that work related deaths that occur outside of the workplace which are not included in present statistics, in particular work related illnesses and diseases that result in workers dying prematurely, be included in official statistics in the future.

Deputy Morgan said, "In 2005 23 more people were killed in workplace accidents than 2004. Twenty-three people were killed in workplace accidents in the construction sector in 2005, compared to 16 in that sector in 2004. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) annual report shows that there were only 40 prosecutions for offences related to breeches of health and safety laws. This extremely low figure is a major cause of concern and undoubtedly sends the message to unscrupulous employers that there is a very good chance that they will get away with flouting the law on health and safety in the workplace.

"Sinn Féin is demanding that the Government introduce legislation to provide for the crime of Corporate Manslaughter as recommended by the Law Reform Commission in their report of October 2005. Reckless employers must be held criminally liable for workplace accidents and fatalities. Only by putting in place effective deterrents can we ensure that these needless deaths cease. Corporate Manslaughter legislation, already in place in many countries, is a key tool in the battle to reduce workplace accidents and fatalities.

"While the figures in the HSA report are deeply worrying there is a real concern these figures do not reflect the true level of work related fatalities as only work-related fatalities that occur due to injuries/accidents inside in the workplace are counted in official statistics. There are other examples of work related deaths that occur but are not counted as such, in particular work related illnesses and diseases that result in premature death. These fatalities must be included in official statistics in the future." ENDS

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