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Andalucía still plagued by high number of workplace accidents and deaths
World Day for Safety and Health at Work

Andalucía still plagued by high number of workplace accidents and deaths

Some 116 people died last year in the region in such incidents: "this doesn't make the news, but if they were all inside a single plane and it crashed, it would"

José Luis Piedra

Seville

Tuesday, 30 April 2024, 09:34

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Sunday 28 April was World Day for Safety and Health at Work, a moment to reflect on how more workplace accidents and deaths can be prevented. The issue hangs in the balance and triggers great public concern. So far this year such accidents in the Andalucía region have already claimed the lives of 35 people. There were 116 fatalities in total for 2023 resulting from more than 100,000 accidents each year. Dramatic statistics surround this topic and the authorities register the death of a worker every 2.5 days on average in the region, with an accident at work occurring every five minutes. Serious accidents are on the increase, currently exceeding 20% in Andalucía, with one out of every four accidents being of a serious nature.

This data reflects the stark reality behind the tragedy of the occupational accident rate despite the continuous plans and measures that have been put in place by the various authorities over the years. It is proving to be a hard nut to crack.

The regional minister for Employment, Enterprise and Self-Employment, Rocío Blanco, defended the raft of measures being promoted by her department to put a stop to this scourge, highlighting "the budgetary effort put into prevention policies, more than 11 million euros in the last two years, which has also been reflected in the latest figures for accidents at work."

Not surprising then that last year the death rate from such accidents was reduced by 21.6%, with 35 fewer work-related deaths than in 2022.

104,798 work accidents logged

According to Blanco, "last year a total of 104,798 work accidents were logged and in 2019, when the new Action Plan began to be developed, 111,383 work accidents were recorded", underlining how much of this plan has been put into action across the board (more than 82% of plans rolled out), "which represents the highest rollout percentage of all the plans resulting from our regional strategy to combat this accident rate."

Rocío Blanco also mentioned that work is under way on a new strategy to 2027 and there is a 16% increase in incentives for companies to reduce work-related accidents this year (4.6 million euros available).

Secretary-general for the Andalusian branch of the trade union CC OO, Nuria López, flagged that her union is noticing an increase in accidents at work due to "the lack of diligence on the part of companies when it comes to complying with health and safety legislation on accident prevention", and stressed that "companies should not view accident prevention as a cost, rather as an investment for the future."

Everyday tragedy

López commented further on the lack of visibility of this everyday tragedy in which 116 people per year died last year in workplace accidents: "this doesn't make the news, but if they were all inside a single aeroplane and it crashed, it would."

The secretary for Labour Relations and Employment in the UGT-A trade union, Julián Vileya, stressed the need to have better representation across the region for accident prevention and to have a proper accident prevention service in all SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises) to reduce accident rates there, the latter being the type of company in which there is no trade union representation, because "where there are more trade unions, the lower the accident rate." He also mentioned the growth in illnesses related to mental health and the effects of climate change and whether these should be considered as occupational illnesses.

The Confederation of Employers of Andalucía (CEA) has shown its firm commitment to engage in the battle to promote and push forward a culture of accident prevention. Manuel Carlos Alba, director of CEA's legal department, believes that prevention "is core to companies in Andalucía", and that there is a need to provide "easily accessible advice to companies on a daily basis, with special attention given to SMEs, the bulk of our productive fabric."

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