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Workplace injury figures ‘unsustainable’ says major trade union

432 have died in last 5 years in Catalonia due to accidents at work, according to UGT report

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24 April 2018 01:32 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

A total of 432 people have died in the last five years in Catalonia due to accidents at work, according to a report by trade union UGT. In January and February this year, 11 people have lost their lives due to work-related incidents.

These figures, according to the UGT, one of the biggest trade unions in the country, are “unsustainable.” Between 2013 and 2017, the total of accidents at the workplace increased by 26.7%, from 72,772 to 92,243 cases.

The report, entitled 'Work-related accidents in Catalonia 2013-2017’, was presented on Tuesday in the Barcelona. UGT highlighted how the services sector “stands out” overall with a 25.2% increase in accidents. “Precariousness and the accident rate go hand in hand,” said Núria Gilgado, the union’s secretary of trade policy at the presentation of the report. 

Illnesses

UGT has divided the cases of work-related illnesses in Catalonia into six categories depending on the cause. These are made up of accidents caused by chemical agents, physical agents, biological agents, inhalation of substances not covered in previous categories, skin diseases caused by direct contact with substances, and those caused by carcinogenic agents.

Women suffer more professional illnesses, making up 50.8%, even though there are less women at work. The report also found that women are also more at risk of fractures, as well as dermatitis or nodules in the vocal cords.

The report also highlighted the occurrence of diseases due to “exposure to psychosocial risks” derived from precarious work conditions, excess hours, and bad working environment. This can cause, among other things, an increase in drug consumption among the working population.

Accidents during 2018

In the first two months of 2018, aside from the 11 deaths, there have also been 15,258 cases of registered accidents, marking an increase of 4.8% compared to the same period last year. Out of these accidents, 15,154 were mild, while 93 were serious, an increase of 20.8%.

Recommendations and claims

The union has demanded the immediate “repeal of labour reforms” in order to bring an end to precariousness and worsening of working conditions.  According to UGT, the failure of public policies in matters of prevention is the reason behind the high  number of accidents.

The report also calls for authorities to provide more resources in terms of work inspections in order to increase the control of health and safety in companies.

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  • Núria Gilgado, UGT secretary of trade policy (by ACN)

  • Núria Gilgado, UGT secretary of trade policy (by ACN)