The Health and Safety Authority has said that 55 people died in workplace accidents in 2011, which was a 15% increase on the previous year.

The figures were released as a new awareness campaign aimed at improving safety on the land is launched.

The HSA said 2011 was the second year in a row that the total number of workplace fatalities had increased.

The authority recorded 48 workplace deaths in 2010.

There were 22 deaths in agriculture in 2011, compared to 25 the previous year.

HSA Chief Executive Martin O'Halloran said a new awareness campaign aimed at encouraging farmers to stop taking risks had just been launched and that other safety campaigns would be put in train this later this year.

He said the initiatives were designed to build a strong culture of workplace health and safety in all workplaces.

Mr O'Halloran said that behind these statistics lay human tragedies, lost lives and ruined families.