Almost half of the workplace fatalities recorded last year took place on farms, according to the Health and Safety Authority’s (HSA) annual report.

Some 43 work-related fatalities were reported, the majority of which (72%) occurred in agriculture (20 deaths) and construction (11 deaths).

“While much progress has been made in improving workplace safety in recent years, sadly we are seeing a persistent trend over many years now in both the agriculture and construction sectors, where workers continue to lose their lives,” said Conor O’Brien, chief executive officer of the HSA.

“We’re urging all employers, but particularly the self-employed, to make health and safety a top priority as you go to work each day,” he added.

“As the Health and Safety Authority prepares its new 2025-2027 Strategy, I will be seeking input from our sectoral advisory committees as to how we can make a significant step change in these sectors to significantly reduce the fatality, illness and injury rates.


The HSA conducted 9,995 proactive and 463 reactive workplace inspections across all economic sectors and 225 investigations were completed following incident reports received.

In all, 83 investigations were undertaken into fatal accidents, of which 43 were deemed work-related.

Nineteen prosecutions concluded, with 15 prosecuted on indictment and four prosecuted summarily, resulting in fines totalling over €1.3m.

Within the agriculture sector, 1,388 inspections were conducted by HSA staff, with 78 improvement notices issued, 24 prohibition notices issued and a further 631 farm employers issued with written advice following an inspection.

New regulations introduced, the first of their kind in the EU, making helmet-wearing and training for all quad bike operators a legal requirement.

Falling fatality rate

Despite employment levels being at a record high, the HSA records show an overall decrease in the rate of work-related fatalities per 100,000 workers in Ireland over the past ten years, from the rate of 2.8 in 2014 to 1.6 in 2023.

“I would like to express my condolences to the families, friends and communities of the 43 people who lost their lives in workplace accidents in 2023,” said Minister of State for business, employment and retail, Emer Higgins.