Health workers 'most likely' to be off work due to illness

Five sectors account for 56% of work-related injury

Health workers 'most likely' to be off work due to illness

Doctors walk the corridors of James Connolly Memorial Hospital, Blanchardstown in 2005 | Image:

Those working in the health sector are most likely to take time off work due to work-related injuries and illness.

New research from the ESRI says the five sectors with persistently high risks are health, construction, transport and storage, industry, and agriculture, forestry and fishing.

It says these five sectors accounted for 41% of employment and 56% of work-related injury in 2014.

The research tracked experiences over the period 2001 to 2014, using nationally representative surveys of the workforce collected by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Injury rates in the agriculture, construction and industry sectors fell during the recession (2008-2011) compared to the boom (2001-2007).

Annual average number of days lost to injury and illness per 1,000 workers in industry, 2001-2014 | Image: ESRI

While the rate of fatalities is highest in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector.

The number of fatalities increased from 129 in the 2001-2007 period to 151 in the 2008-2014 period.

Other sectors experienced a downward trend.

The number of fatalities fell in industry (62 to 39), in construction (104 to 49), and in transport and storage (38 to 26).

The combined fatalities in industry, construction, transport, and agriculture, forestry and fishing accounted for 85% of all worker fatalities in Ireland in 2014.

The health sector had the highest total number of days lost due to work-related injury.

Industry breakdown

The highest number of total days lost due to work-related injury in the 2008-2014 period was in the health sector (92,000 days per year) - followed by the transport sector (82,000 days per year).

The health sector also had the highest number of days lost per worker due to work-related illness.

The research says 524 days were lost per 1,000 workers - this was followed by transport (507), agriculture, forestry and fishing (358), industry (351) and construction (313).

However, the transport sector had the highest number of days lost per worker due to work-related injury.

Night workers, shift workers and new recruits had a higher risk of injury.

Number of worker fatalities by sector, 2001-2014 | Image: ESRI

In all sectors examined except construction, night workers and shift workers had a higher risk of injury compared to workers not working these hours.

In all five sectors, new recruits were more likely to experience an injury compared to those with longer tenures, on a full-year equivalence basis.

Longer working weeks are also associated with injury.

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.

Part-time workers are also at higher risk of injury.

In the agriculture sector, while those working long hours had the highest risks of injury overall, part-time workers were found to face a greater risk of work-related illness per hour worked.

This part-time effect was also found in the transport sector.

Read the full report here