A steep 34% rise in the number of fatal workplace accidents has been reported by the Health and Safety Commission (HSE).

There were 295 workplace deaths in 2000, compared to 220 the previous year.

The majority of fatalities occurred in the construction industry (106), followed by agriculture (46). Some 73 fatalities were caused by falls from heights, 64 from moving vehicles and 52 from falling objects.

HSE chairman Bill Callaghan said he was greatly concerned about the increase in fatalities during 2000.

He said the HSE had set national targets to tackle the main causes of fatalities and the worst offending sectors of the industry.