The occupational accident rate in Spain is one of the main health problems of our society, as it affects both the individual health of workers and of the companies and the productive system.
The economic cycle of the last ten years did not contribute to slow down occupational hazard, quite the opposite, in fact. The number of leaves and, above all, the accident rate in certain sectors such as construction or industrial, although important prevention measures were implemented. What will happen in the period of economic crisis started in 2008? The answer tends to be worrying, as if the total number of accident will fall, it will be probably due to the increase of unemployement and not to data of a real reduction of occupational accidents and professional diseases in serving workers.
The last official statistics of the Department of Employment and Immigration (April 2008), report more than 580,000 occupational accidents in the last years, with a slight decrease with regard to the previous year, as regards the total number of accidents and leaves.
However, the problem tends to stagnate or get worse if we do not nip the problem in the bud; "if we do not deal with the deficiencies in the prevention of hazard factors present in the companies' working conditions", points out Professor Fernando Gil Hernández, director of the course "Occupational hazard prevention: a hope for the future", which took place in Almuñécar in July in the context of the courses of the Mediterranean Centre of the University of Granada (Spain).
The course analyses hazard factors derived from occupational health problems, environment, industrial hygiene, ergonomy or psychosociology. All this factors must be taken into account to reduce the accident rate through the decrease of occupational hazard.
Gil Hernández emphasizes the incidence of industrial hygiene as a factor of occupational hazard, in which one of the most worrying subjects are chemical agents. "It is important to consider how to prevent their impact on the health of workers in greenhouse crops or in industrial processes, for example, which can have avery negative impact on health". Specifically, he mentioned toxicity and industrial chemical agents prevention with regard to human reproduction.
One of the most disturbing aspects with regard to chemical agents -he said- is their impact on pregnant women. The main problem is that women do not know they are pregnant until the first or the second month of pregnancy and the embryonic period is critical for the future development of the child". In this sense, he maintained that in those cases in which the pregnant woman "may run the risk of being subjected to an impact on the health of the foetus, she should enter a temporary disability to avoid the impact on his health".
The seminar is paying a special attention to "invisible" occupational hazard, more and more present in companies due to the day by day consequences derived from globalization, says Professor Antonio Delgado Padial (Dean of the Faculty of Social Work of the University of Granada).
The expert on work psychology referred to increasing problems in more and more competitive work environments: mobbing, burnout, labour stress, etc. Such hazards do not affect directly the worker's physical health, at least at the beginning, as they do not result in leaves derived from work accidents. However, they invovle a very serious impact on workers' health, giving rise to accidents and professional diseases.
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Miércoles, 09 de Julio de 2008
Experts analyse elements to prevent occupational hazard in Spain
- Both the rapid growth of economy and the crisis can negatively affect the occupational accident rate.- The Mediterranean Centre of the UGR has hosted a course on occupational hazard prevention. They have analysed visible and invisible health hazards for workers.- They have insisted that pregnant women have a temporary disability period to avoid the impact on the health of the foetus.