A great many lives can be saved and thousands of injuries prevented if there is a high level of worker involvement in workplace health and safety procedures, said the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
Speaking ahead of European Health & Safety Week 2013, Congress Legal Affairs Officer Esther Lynch said workplace accidents, deaths and injuries were entirely preventable.
“The theme of European Health & Safety Week 2013 is ‘Working Together for Risk Prevention’ and that is what needs to happen in every workplace.
“In order to help workers in this regard, Congress is making available free materials that can be downloaded from the Congress website and which will be of use in helping to map out risk in the workplace and improve safety.
“High quality worker involvement and consultation in the identification and control of risks is an essential component of any safe workplace. This year we are also encouraging workers to speak up for safety, health and welfare at in their workplaces,” Ms Lynch said.
She said Congress was also calling on employers to involve workers in discussing and reporting health and safety issues, as they are very often best placed to be aware of risk and potential danger.
“The need to talk about health and safety openly is work is underscored by the worrying increase in work-related deaths. Last year the Health and Safety Authority reported t55 workplace deaths in 2011 compared to 43 in 2009.
“This rise is particularly troubling as there has been a drop in the overall number of people at work, Ms Lynch concluded.