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EU’s ‘most dangerous place to work’ as four in every 100,000 die on the job

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Thousands of people in the European Union died in a single year following incidents in the workplace. An analysis by Eurostat showed that in 2021 alone were recorded across the bloc 3,347 workplace fatalities.

The number of non-fatal accidents, which are considered issues that prompted workers to be absent from the workplace for at least four calendar days, reached a devastating 2.88 million in that same year.

The study by the EU statistical office showed the number of men involved in accidents was considerably higher than that of women, with more than two out of every three non-fatal workplace incidents involving men.

The study also looked at the highest incidence rates among the EU Member States, which were seen in two Baltic nations – Latvia, which recorded 4.29 fatal accidents per 100,000 persons employed, and Lithuania, with 3.75 fatal accidents every 100,000 employees. Latvia counts just 1.8 million residents, while Lithuania has 2.8 million citizens living on its soil.

The country recording the lowest number of deadly incidents per 100,000 people employed in 2021, the study showed, was the Netherlands.

The highest number of fatal accidents overall that year was recorded in France, where 674 workers died on the job. Italy also performed badly, with 601 deaths at the workplace registered in 2021 – the most recent statistics available.

Fatal workplace accidents are described by Eurostat as deaths occurring less than one year following an incident involving the victim at their place of work.

Eurostat noted France recorded the highest incidence rates for non-fatal workplace accidents for every 100,000 workers, followed by Denmark, Portugal and Spain.

Emmanuel Macron‘s country recorded a total of 655,024 non-deadly workplace incidents in 2021, while Denmark registered more than 85,300.

Several thousand non-fatal incidents, 113,976, were also recorded in Portugal and Spain – 457,435.

European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) senior advisor Ignacio Doreste previously told Euronews Business when asked about this study: “Unfortunately, it can indeed be stated that workplace accidents are relatively common in Europe.”

Speaking about the main causes behind workplace accidents, Mr Doreste said: “Human errors are frequently perceived as unavoidable factors leading to accidents, despite the fact that the true underlying causes behind human actions often have organisational origins.”

The EU data indicated that all accidents are primarily the result of a loss of control of work equipment. Falling, stumbling or slipping were seen as the second-most common cause of accidents.

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