Health and Safety Authority – Fatal Injuries:
2012 has seen a modest reduction in Fatal Injury cases at work. On the HSA figures shown between 2008 and 2012 one can see that figures are markedly down in the construction sector which is to be expected. It is interesting to see that the Energy sector has had no fatalities in the period. That sector has a considerable spend on health and safety and clearly shows the value in having good compliance and training for staff.
Accidents will never be fully avoidable and the key is to ensure good legal compliance in the provision of training, education and continued investment in new technology to improve health and safety in the workplace.
Fatal accidents and personal injury (serious and minor) accidents at work are now primarily a matter of criminal law investigation. The HSA may not advertise this fact but they are consistent and fair in bringing prosecutions in the public interest. If one analyses their prosecutions statistics, their success rates in Court are commendably high. I do wonder if perhaps one of reasons for this success is that many businesses in the aftermath of a fatal or serious workplace accident fail to take on board that a prosecution may ensue.As a solicitor who has advised clients during the investigation stage, a reactive and strategic approach must be taken in how the investigation is handled. The first step is to get criminal law advice during the investigation stage. Companies large and small, their Directors, Managers and Supervisors are all potential Defendants.
A prosecution is not just traumatic it could result in the loss of ones good name and the loss of the business itself.
The views expressed here are purely my own.