Work-related deaths: where do they occur most in Europe?

Work-related deaths: where do they occur most in Europe?

    Some 3,347 workplace deaths were recorded across the EU in 2021, according to Eurostat data, with Latvia and Lithuania recording the highest rates of fatal accidents.
</p><div><div class="c-ad c-ad-halfpage u-show-for-small-only"><div class="c-ad__placeholder"><img class="c-ad__placeholder__logo" src="https://static.euronews.com/website/images/logos/logo-euronews-180x22-grey-6.svg" width="180" height="22" alt="" loading="lazy"/><span>advertisement</span></div></div><p>Meanwhile, there were 2.88 million non-fatal workplace accidents across the EU in 2021, according to <strong>Latest EU Statistical Office data</strong>.  Although these incidents were not fatal, they were serious enough to result in at least four days off work.

The European Union defines workplace accidents as “a discrete event during work that results in physical or mental harm.” This includes road traffic accidents during a worker’s shift, but not on the way to or from work – although some countries, such as France, consider a car accident on the way to work to be a workplace accident.

A fatal work accident is considered such when the death occurs less than one year after the accident suffered by the victim occurred at his or her workplace.

“Unfortunately, it can already be said that workplace accidents are relatively common in Europe,” Ignacio Duresti, senior advisor to the European Trade Union Confederation, told Euronews Business.

Men are more susceptible to work accidents than women

Meanwhile, data showed that men are more at risk, with 68.3% of them being victims of non-fatal workplace accidents.

One explanation is that men hold more full-time jobs than women, causing them to spend more time at work and proportionally increasing the likelihood of accidents.

Male-dominated fields are also the scene of a large proportion of workplace accidents, with construction being the sector where the most fatal accidents occur.

The construction sectors, along with transportation, warehousing, manufacturing, agriculture, forestry and fishing, account for two-thirds of non-fatal workplace accidents.

What are the main causes of work accidents?

EU data indicate that all accidents are primarily the result of loss of control of work equipment (transport, tools or machinery). Falling, tripping, or slipping comes in second place.

“Human errors are often viewed as inevitable factors that lead to accidents, despite the fact that the real causes behind human actions often have organizational origins,” said Ignacio Duresti.

The European Union ETUC stressed that a combination of good legislation, risk reduction and prevention steps is needed to avoid accidents in the workplace. They say the employer’s role is to ensure a safe working environment – including the mental health of its employees.

“Fatal work accidents are expected to continue until 2062 based on the current rate, which is seven years longer than previously expected,” the ETUC told Euronews Business.

“We urge European governing bodies to enact legislation that protects workers from risks associated with climate change,” they added, recalling the risks associated with recent extreme weather conditions.

At least six workers died in France in September while harvesting grapes in the Rhone and Champagne regions. All of them suffered heart attacks after hours of working in the fields in temperatures of 35 degrees.

(Tags for translation) Worker deaths

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