Health and Safety Authority and Irish Congress of Trade Unions commemorate Workers’ Memorial Day

28th April 2022 

The Health and Safety Authority and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, with support from Ibec, the Construction Industry Federation and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, have joined together today, Thursday 28th April, to mark Workers’ Memorial Day with a national commemorative event in Dublin. 

Workers’ Memorial Day is an international day of remembrance for those who have been killed or seriously injured in work-related incidents. In Ireland, 481 people were killed in work-related incidents over a ten-year period from 2012-2021. So far this year, seven people have been killed in work-related incidents. 

The commemorative event featured a ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin to honour those lost through work-related incidents. Those in attendance included Damien English TD, Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Kevin Callinan, President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Dr. Sharon McGuinness, CEO of the Health and Safety Authority, and senior figures from Ibec, the Construction Industry Federation and trade unions. 

Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD, said, “While it is positive to see a substantial decline in work-related fatalities in 2021, seven workers have lost their lives so far in 2022. There can be no complacency about the need to prevent work-related deaths. While it is vital to have strong health and safety regulations in tandem with robust enforcement, the totality of the response must also include full commitment, co-operation and communication at workplace level between employers and workers. One of the successes of the workplace response to the pandemic was the development of the COVID Lead Worker Representative role. I encourage all employers, business managers, and workers too, to build on that success and to pro-actively encourage and facilitate the Safety Representative role in their own workplace to embed safety in all work practices and to truly make it everyone’s business.” 

Kevin Callinan, President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, said that Irish trade unions were supporting a European campaign, launched today, for zero deaths at work by 2030. “We will be talking with employers, the government and the HSA to gain support for this objective. Every death at work is one too many”, he said. 

The commemorative event was also attended by the family of Lorcan Deasy, who lost his life in a construction incident in Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo in 2018. As part of the event, the family laid a wreath in honour of Lorcan and all other workers killed while doing their job. 

Lorcan’s mother, Marian Deasy of Castlebar, Co. Mayo, shared, “Today is a day in which we remember my son Lorcan and all the other loved ones lost, and honour their memory. We ask that all businesses and organisations establish stronger safety and health protections in their workplaces to ensure that no other family loses a loved one through a preventable incident.” 

Dr. Sharon McGuinness, Chief Executive Officer of the HSA, said, “Worker safety and health is everyone’s business and can only be tackled through a collaborative approach. The collaboration of Congress, Ibec and the CIF provides vital support which enables awareness building and initiatives dedicated to educating and creating legislative change, creating high standards in workplace safety, and continuing to reduce fatalities and incidents across all workplaces.”