The number of work accidents rose again in 2011
The latest statistics on work accidents reveal a fairly alarming trend. Despite the best efforts of individuals and organizations to reduce the number of work accidents there has been a marked increase in 2011 - up by over six per cent from 2010. And this follows an earlier five per cent rise in 2010.This worsening trend can also be seen from the changes in the overall accident rate. Between 2009 and 2011 it rose by over eight per cent. Thus, the annual variation of economic activity does not offer any real comfort when studying the statistics.
The total number of cases where wage and salary earners received compensation from work accidents rose last year to 132,000. This works out as 31.5 compensated work accidents per one million hours of work.
Raili Perimäki, SAK's expert on occupational safety issues, believes that it is possible to create a permanently positive trend. What is needed is a strengthening of occupational safety skills at workplaces. Those responsible for occupational safety should be mandated, by legislative reform, to participate in training on occupational safety. More resources for safety inspection are needed, too, Perimäki says.
"Work accidents should be analysed in a more detailed way to develop pre-emptive measures more specific as to industry-specific risks." In recent years this has been done in the construction industry, and results, at least in 2011, have been encouraging, Perimäki adds.
In 2011 the total number of fatal accidents dropped to 28 from 33 in 2010. However, in 2008 the same figure was 25. In 2009 a total of 29 persons lost their lives in work accidents.
Helsinki 16.4.2012 - Juhani Artto
• More fatal accidents and higher frequency of accidents in 2010 (21.3.2011)