The UGT-A union has released shocking figures about accidents and fatalities in the workplace in Andalucía, and is calling for more to be done to guarantee workers’ safety. Its report shows that in 2021 there were 257 accidents in the workplace in the region, which amounts to 11 an hour, and 148 people lost their lives in those accidents.
The statistics indicate that one person dies at work every two and a half days in Andalucía, and of those who died last year, seven lost their lives on their first day in a new job. Juan Carlos Hidalgo, the union’s secretary for accidents and risks at work, says that Andalucía represents one-fifth of the deaths at work and one in every four serious accidents in Spain.
In 2021 there were 95,000 accidents at work in this region in 2021, of which 1,147 were classed as serious. Most of them – 93,760 – resulted in the injured worker being signed off sick. Deaths in the workplace rose by more than 20 per cent last year compared with 2020, although that year was unusual because it was marked by the Covid pandemic and the lockdown.
The UGT report says that most of those who died at work in 2021 were men, mainly above the age of 50. The highest number of deaths was among people in their first year in the job; 27 of them lost their lives in their first month at work and seven on their first day, which Hidalgo says is probably due to inadequate training regarding risks in the workplace.
He also explains that “the highest numbers of deaths are in small companies with fewer than 50 workers, and in unstable contractual situations, which leads us to the conclusion that job insecurity increases the possibility of suffering a fatal accident at work”.
UGT-A is proposing a shock plan to ensure strict compliance with the Law of Prevention of Risks in the Workplace and also wants the authorities to create the position of Delegate for Territorial Prevention, someone who will check that companies are applying every measure needed to guarantee their employees’ safety.
The union also says more Work Inspectors are needed in Andalucía, and is calling for there to be prosecutors who specialise in accidents and deaths at work. It also says there should be powerful campaigns to raise awareness of the problem among the public, similar to those carried out for traffic laws and domestic abuse.