Labor inspectorate: Nearly 20 percent fall in workplace accidents in 2020

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Factory employees in Estonia (photo is illustrative). Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

Occupational accidents in Estonia fell by nearly 20 percent on year to 2020, the Labor Inspectorate (Tööinspektsioon) says. The figure for occupational-related deaths also fell.

Preliminary data says that 3,457 occupational accidents were registered in Estonia last year, over 800 fewer than in 2019.

Maret Maripuu, director general of the Labor Inspectorate, said that while 2020's figures would have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which meant workplaces were at a lower capacity often, the fall in the number of accidents was also the result of better awareness of health and safety issues.

Maripuu said: "There were fewer accidents at work last year, foremost because economic activity was limited. At the same time, the growing awareness of the need to maintain health at work, which has accompanied the prevention of the spread of the coronavirus, definitely plays an important role as well. This increase in vigilance likely prevented quite a few serious accidents."

"A significant change is that while for years, most occupational accidents occurred in the metals industry, last year, the trade sector took first place instead. This illustrates well the changes that have taken place well."

Of the 3,457 occupational accidents registered last year, 2,576 consisted of light accidents, while on 873 occasions employees suffered a grave bodily injury, with eight people losing their lives at work. In 2020, there were 819 fewer occupational accidents than in 2019.

The corresponding figures for 2019 were 4,276 accidents, of which 1,128 were serious, with 15 deaths.

The eight deaths in 2020 saw four working in very small companies of up to nine staff, with the remaining four taking place at small-to-medium firms. There were no occupational deaths in large companies last year, the labor inspectorate says.

By sector, the highest number of accidents occurred as noted in trade and construction, the smallest in fishing. By county, the highest number of occupational accidents were registered in Tallinn and Harju County, the fewest on Hiiumaa.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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