Deaths and injuries at work generate personal dramas and financial losses
“Casual, random, unexpected event”. The definition in the dictionary makes it clear that the word “accident” is not adequate to describe the occurrences that victimize thousands of workers every year in Brazil – a true daily tragedy that takes life away from social life and often leaves irreversible consequences.
With very rare exceptions, the so-called “accidents” at work have two causes: omission by the employer or imprudence by the worker. In addition to the personal drama itself, these events are damaging to the companies themselves and the country in general. And it is precisely to warn about the consequences and, mainly, how to prevent these “unforeseen events” from occurring, Abril Verde was created. Throughout the month, various activities were held, such as lectures, courses and debates across the country. In Santos, the campaign was launched on April 8, in a ceremony at the City Hall of Santos.
The numbers are alarming. The Public Ministry of Labor (MPT) reveals that, from January 2018 to March 29, 2019, more than 802 thousand work accidents were recorded, resulting in at least 2,995 deaths. In other words: one every 48 seconds, in the country, one death every 3 hours.
But the situation appears to be even worse. A survey carried out by the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine at the University of Campinas (Unicamp) revealed that about 79% of non-fatal cases are no longer registered – this is called underreporting.
According to the MPT, from January 2012 to the end of March this year, Social Security spent about R $ 80.2 billion on accident benefits. There were about 368 million working days lost due to sick leave due to “accidents” or illnesses resulting from professional activity.
The situation places Brazil in the fourth place in the world ranking of accidents at work. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), accidents and illnesses at work cause countries to lose 4% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In Brazil, this is equivalent to R $ 264 billion.
The deputy attorney general of Labor, Luiz Eduardo Bojart, attributes the number of occurrences to “disregard for prevention”. “The company invests in equipment and facilities, but ‘spends’ on job security,” he summarizes. “It is seen as a burden”, he adds. Statistics from the Ministry of Labor confirm this assessment. About 20% of serious or disabling work accidents are caused by obsolete and unsafe equipment. This equation completes the deficiency in the training of professionals for the operation of these machines and in the inspection of the use of safety equipment. A survey by the Inter-Union Department of Statistics and Socioeconomic Studies (Dieese) points out that of every 10 accidents, eight happen to outsourced workers. According to the entity, this is because, in the pursuit of cost reduction,
Usually, the first image that comes to mind when talking about “work accident” is that of a worker falling from a scaffold or being injured for not wearing a helmet. As a result, work-related illnesses are in the background: the office worker who has hand injuries from over-typing; the teacher with vocal cord problems; drivers with emotional difficulties due to chaotic traffic; workers subjected to unhealthy environments, sales professionals pressured to meet goals …
The coordinator of Regressive Actions of the Attorney General’s Office, federal prosecutor Fernando Maciel, believes that the situation will only improve with a change in culture, especially among employers. “The entrepreneur cannot only internalize the profit and externalize the loss to society,” he said, referring to the costs of treatments and coverage of sick leave by the social security system.
Losses to the worker
Physical and emotional pain. Loss of promotion opportunity or salary increase, due to leave or sequelae. Inability to work, partial or total, temporary or permanent. Reduction in income: benefit paid by the INSS corresponds to a maximum of 80% of the normal salary.
Losses to the employer
Expenditure on first aid and transportation of the injured person; production interruption at the moment of the occurrence; material damage (equipment or supplies); hiring a substitute, who may not have the same performance as the incumbent (drop in productivity); bad reputation in the business world.
How to prevent accidents at work
– Make your workplace comfortable;
– Be very careful and follow all safety rules when carrying out the most dangerous activities;
– Organize the workplace or your workstation, do not leave objects out of their places or poorly arranged. If everything is in place, there is no need to improvise in the face of unforeseen events and this reduces accidents;
– Know what risks and precautions you should take in your activity and what are the forms of protection to reduce these risks;
– Always participate in the accident prevention actions or courses that the company provides;
– Apply the accident prevention measures and devices that are provided to you, namely the use of suitable protective clothing, such as hearing protection for noise, goggles, helmets and anti-fall devices, and respiratory protective equipment, among others;
– Do not be afraid to suggest to the company where you work the realization of lectures, seminars and training actions on accident prevention.
Source: Ministry of Health
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