The number of fatal work-related accidents in the Czech Republic has dropped by half over the last 13 years, the Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions (ČMKOS) announced Monday. The organisation cited statistics from the Czech Office of Labour Inspection. It released the information ahead of International Workers’ Memorial Day remembering those who lost their lives in work-related accidents.
While in 2002 in the Czech Republic there were 206 fatal accidents in the workplace, the number last year had dropped by 105. In fact, a steady if slight drop has continued year-on-year. The most dangerous professions, according to available statistics, occur in construction, forestry, in factory jobs, transportation and storage and warehouse work. Over the entire period, there were 1,952 work-related deaths in the country, which union head Josef Středula called the equivalent of an entire village being wiped out. To remember the 105 people who lost their lives in work-related accidents in 2014 alone, an equivalent number of white balloons were released into the sky on Monday.
The theme of this year’s commemoration, ČMKOS deputy leader Radka Sokolová pointed out, was better protection from dangerous substances in work areas, citing that some 100,000 people in the EU die from work-related tumours. She called the number alarming and – the Czech News Agency reported – complained that the EU had not heard the organisation’s calls for limits to be introduced on 50 of the most toxic substances.
According to ČTK, last year more than 41,000 people suffered from work-related illnesses. That was down from more than 70,000 in 2008. But the unions’ umbrella organisation deputy head Sokolová stressed that there the numbers were not clear cut, due to fluctuations in the jobs market. The Chamber of Deputies, meanwhile, is due to debate an amendment to the labour laws overseeing compensation for death or injury in the workplace. Currently, it is unclear whether there will be any changes to injury insurance coverage. The unions, ČTK reports, would prefer to see a new public insurance handle claims, but employers favour private insurance companies.
In general, the umbrella union body wants to draw greater attention to the danger and problems of injury in the workplace and is reportedly is even considering a fairly drastic photo campaign.