A total of 38 fatal workplace accidents occurred in 2021, according to new figures released by the Health and Safety Authority Ireland (HSA).
This is the lowest number of reported yearly fatalities since the HSA began recording in 1989.
The 2021 figure, reported in the authority's Annual Review of Workplace Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities 2020-2021, represents a 30 per cent year-on-year reduction in fatal incidents.
One of the most common causes of death in the workplace was a loss of control of a vehicle or its attachments. There were 11 such incidents in 2021.
There were also 11 fatal instances of falling from a height.
The authority received reports of 8,279 non-fatal workplace incidents. Bone, joint or muscle problems were the most commonly reported incidents, followed by stress, depression and anxiety.
Non-fatal incidents rose by 8 per cent in 2021.
The report found "clear evidence" that older self-employed males undertaking manual work were overrepresented in injury and fatality statistics.
Commenting on the new figures, Dr Sharon McGuinness, Chief Executive Officer of the Health and Safety Authority, said: "I welcome the fact that 38 fatalities in 2021 is the lowest number on record, however, our view is that all of these fatalities are foreseeable and preventable.
"Much progress has been made but there is still a lot of work to be done. There have been improvements, but unfortunately the farming and construction sectors are still over-represented in our fatality figures accounting for half of all work-related fatalities between them. Both sectors will continue to be key priorities for us."
Commenting on the disparity of how workplace incidents affect men and women differently, Dr McGuinness noted: "Bearing in mind that more fatal incidents occurred to self-employed people than employees in seven of the ten years from 2012 to 2021, it is clear that there is a worrying trend of serious injuries and fatalities in older, self-employed men involved in manual work.
"Anecdotal evidence suggests that this cohort may consider health and safety as ‘not necessary’ or that they ‘know what they’re doing’, but there is a clear issue here that needs to be addressed."