Night-shift workers and newbies are at high risk of hurting themselves on the job

Longer working weeks also increase the likelihood of injury, according to an ESRI report.

By Conor McMahon Reporter, Fora

PEOPLE WHO WORK nights and new recruits are at a high risk of injuring themselves in the workplace, according to a new analysis.

The ESRI studied work-related injuries and illnesses in five high-risk industries: health; construction; transport and storage; manufacturing and utilities; and agriculture, forestry and fishing.

The think tank found that in every sector bar construction, night-shift workers and shift workers are at a higher risk of hurting themselves on duty than those who work regular hours.

The ESRI also reported that new recruits are “more likely to experience injury compared to those with longer tenures”, while part-time employees in agriculture and transport were found to face greater risk of workplace injury per hour worked.

The analysis – which tracks the period from 2001 to 2014 – is based on data collected through the Central Statistics Office’s quarterly national household survey and figures produced by the Health and Safety Authority on fatal and non-fatal injuries.

Workplace deaths

The research showed that the rate of fatalities is highest in the agriculture, forestry and fishing category. All other industries experienced a downward trend over the 13-year period.

The number of agriculture, forestry and fishing fatalities increased from 129 deaths between 2001 to 2007, to 151 between 2008 and 2015.

There were 69 deaths in the manufacturing and utilities sector during the 2001-2007 period. This dropped to 39 between 2008 and 2014. Construction fatalities decreased from 104 to 49, and transport and storage workplace deaths declined from 38 to 26.

The ESRI identified health as the sector with the highest total number of days lost due to work-related injury, while transport had the highest number of days lost per worker due to work-related injury.

From 2008 to 2014, an average of 766 days each year were lost to injury per 1,000 workers in the transport and storage sector. On average, some 216 days were lost annually per 1,000 workers across all five sectors.

Unsurprisingly, the ESRI’s research also suggested that longer working weeks are associated with injury in the building industry.

“Construction sector workers working between 40 and 49 hours a week faced a greater likelihood of injury per hour worked, after adjusting for worker and job characteristics,” the authors of the report said.

ESRI research professor Helen Russell said the new study highlights that there is a “need for supervision, training and support to prevent rising injury and illness rates”.

Sign up to our newsletter to receive a regular digest of Fora’s top articles delivered to your inbox.