Tuesday, 4 April 2006
Department of Health and Children
Accident and Emergency Services
The information requested by the Deputy is not readily available. The Health and Safety Authority, HSA, which reports to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, is the statutory body with responsibility for monitoring the incidence of work-related accidents. Data are reported to the HSA on those accidents at work, excluding self-employed and certain other categories, which result in at least three days absence from work. The information recorded does not indicate whether those who have suffered an injury attended a hospital accident and emergency department for treatment. Statistics collected by my Department for 2005 show there were a total of 1.25 million accident and emergency unit attendances nationally. It is not, however, possible with present information systems to ascertain what proportion of these visits were due to work-related accidents.
A pilot project is under way to widen the range of information collected on accident and emergency attendances. The project is part of a harmonised EU initiative under the auspices of the public health programme of the EU Commission and is being led by the National Suicide Research Foundation in Ireland. The objective will be to replace the previous system which was restricted to home and leisure accidents to cover all injuries attending accident and emergency units. The new system is being tested throughout the EU and, in Ireland, is being piloted at present in the six hospitals of the Health Service Executive southern region.