Safety day at work

AndThe World Day for Safety and Health at Work, celebrated annually on April 28, promotes the prevention of work accidents and occupational diseases around the world. It is an awareness campaign designed to focus international attention on the scale of the problem and how creating and promoting a culture of safety and health can help reduce the number of work-related deaths and injuries (“a work accident is any bodily injury to the person concerned”. another person” (Article 115 of the LGSS-)

The International Labor Organization warns us of everyone’s responsibilities to end deaths and injuries at work. Governments must provide the infrastructure (laws and services) needed to ensure workers remain employed and businesses thrive – this includes developing a national policy, program and inspection system to enforce legislation and policies. Health and Safety at Work. Employers and entrepreneurs must be responsible for ensuring that the work environment is safe and healthy. Workers have a responsibility to work safely, protect themselves, not endanger others, know their rights, and participate in implementing preventive measures.

But this remarkable declaration of intent does not always translate into preventative action by the three agents involved: governments, businesses and workers.

The evolution of deaths due to work accidents The death of a worker in the course of his professional duties in his company is the most serious expression of work accidents and gives us the best indicator of occupational safety in general, and in particular in each of the sectors analyzed. Fatal accident statistics give us excellent insight into the appropriateness of the measures adopted.

An analysis of the evolution of deaths from occupational accidents in Spain since the last century gives us some results that we can call a “success story”, since in the past thirty years it has been reduced by almost a third. So far in the twenty-first century, deaths from occupational accidents have remained in half.

This success is usually attributed to the enactment of the Occupational Risk Prevention Act (LPRL) in 1995, but this statement is debatable. In fact, fatalities from work accidents have been declining since 1990, and with the Anti-Terrorism Act going into effect in 1996, these deaths began to rise, and it wasn’t until ten years later that the 1996 data were restored. Perhaps, this increase in mortality is not accidental and has a causal relationship with LPRL and its errors, which are not analyzed in this article.

The rise in fatalities from work accidents in the last 10 years, which has seen a growth of 26%, is staggering. It should be borne in mind that the slight decrease observed in 2021 occurred in the year of Covid, coinciding with a significant decrease in business activity. What is really worrying is that in 2020 (the first year of infection with the Coronavirus) occupational fatalities increased rather than recorded a decline commensurate with the decline in work activity that occurred due to the epidemic for several months.

There is something wrong with preventing accidents To benefit from this Work Safety Day celebration, deep thought should be made by all accident prevention agents to delve into the foreseeable and preventable causes of accidents in accordance with the law. From work accidents, leaving aside fame and corporate interests.

There are many aspects that need to be seriously addressed beyond the established barriers that have been established in terms of preventing occupational hazards. I note some of these aspects that could have important implications for the way accident prevention at work has been approached so far:

One. To the extent that the law recognizes that commuting accidents have a right to occupational emergency benefits, which is beyond question, commuting accidents are not work accidents and should not be counted as such and are not compatible with them. . Although these accidents may have an impact on the company, their prevention is, with few exceptions, compatible with those who are at risk of suffering from these accidents.

two. Occupational accident insurance companies, which until the LPRL had developed important tasks for the prevention of work accidents and which were prohibited from this activity, must be able to continue to contribute to the prevention of accidents and must be able to continue to carry out preventive activities of all kinds.

3. The exclusive competence of the Labor Inspectorate, officially the State Agency for Labor Inspection and Social Security (an independent body of the Government of Spain), should be reviewed for work-related accidents. It is not only the autonomous communities that are responsible for the investigation of occupational accidents, but also the municipal councils that want to develop this competence at the municipal level, in the same way that they handle in traffic accidents, the safety of citizens or fires, which shows a high efficiency. All departments must cooperate in preventing and reducing occupational accidents.

four. Unions must stop shouting against employers, against governments and against management every time a serious industrial accident occurs before the causes of the accident are known. His aggressive attitude does not help at all to prevent accidents.

5. More attention should be paid to the recklessness that causes accidents, not only when it is attributed to the managers of the company, but also when it comes to the workers; When the injured person behaves in violation of the rules, instructions or orders issued by the employer repeatedly and known in relation to safety and hygiene.

6. We should start as soon as possible the educational programs for our teens that are subject to road safety, fire prevention, first aid, other hazard prevention, etc., which can saturate citizens with a much-needed safety culture.

As always, when we talk about accident prevention, we have a long way to go.Head of the Observatory for the Prevention of Risks and Accidents

Leave a Comment