SIPTU has called on the Government to stop cuts to the funding of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and oppose EU deregulation plans for safety regulation in the wake of new figures showing a 17% rise in work related deaths during 2014. Figures released by the HSA yesterday (Tuesday, 6th January) show that 55 people were killed in work related accidents last year, compared to 47 in 2013.SIPTU Health and Safety Advisor, Sylvester Cronin, said: “We are alarmed by the significant increase in the number of occupational fatalities in Ireland in 2014.  The emphasis on prevention of work-related accidents and illnesses has been severely hampered by the year on year reductions in budget allocations for the relevant statutory authority, the HSA, since 2008”.He added: “SIPTU has on numerous occasions warned that such reductions on preventative services would inevitably lead to increases in work-related accidents, illnesses and deaths. Sadly it would seem our fears have materalised. To end this wanton waste of human lives the Government must end cuts to these services. The Government must also stand up to the EU Commission’s attempts to deregulate occupational safety and health legislation or we will see more alarming increases in work related accidents, illnesses and deaths.”Fatalities in the Agriculture sector increased by 87% in 2014, with 30 people killed compared to 16 in 2013. For the fifth year running the Agriculture sector has recorded the highest number of fatalities, representing roughly 55% of all work related deaths in 2014.