Accidents at work: smarter working does not mean fewer deaths. The Italian and European data

by Domenico Guarino

More smart working, but also more victims. In the very delicate field of accidents at work (up Light! we had followed in particular the case of Luana d’Orazio), in Italy the pandemic gives us an apparent contradiction: on the one hand, in fact, in 2020 there were fewer complaints (572,018, or 72,684 less than the previous year, when instead they were 644,702, with a decrease of 11%) on the other cases with fatal outcome have increased (+ 34.5% in 2020 compared to 2019). It must be said, however, that in the first part of 2021 an opposite trend was observed. In fact, between January and August 349,449 reports of accidents were filed (or about 27 thousand more than in the same period of the previous year, with an increase of + 8.5%), while those for fatal accidents decreased (772 in the first 8 months of 2021, with a decrease of 6.2% compared to the same period in 2020). In any case, these data confirm one thing: dying from work, in our country, is still a very, too frequent event. And unfortunately not only in our country.

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In Italy in the first part of 2021 772 people died at work

In 2018, the France was the European Union country with the highest accident rate, having registered approximately 3,400 cases for every 100,000 employed. Portugal and Spain followed, also over the threshold of 3 thousand accidents. The states that instead reported the lowest figures were Bulgaria and Romania, respectively with 78 and 92 cases per 100 thousand workers. Of course, in evaluating these figures, it must be considered the high probability of underestimation with respect to this phenomenon, and the lack of harmonization between the various EU countries on the collection of data regarding accidents at work. But the numbers are still significant. Just as it is significant that some states (Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden) do not even have a specific insurance system, while others (Greece, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal) do not include in their monitoring i self-employed. Finally, other nations still do not take into consideration all sectors of activity.

Lombardy, in 2020, is the region in which the most fatal accidents were reported, followed by Campania and Lazio

As for the fatal accidents, in 2018 it was Austria the EU country that reported the highest number (4.31 per 100 thousand employed). Lithuania (3.89) and Bulgaria (3.81) followed, while France was in fourth place (3.7). The Netherlands recorded the lowest figures, with 0.87 deaths per 100,000 employed. Returning to the Italian data, it should be noted that Lombardy is the region where in 2020 it was presented the highest number of fatal accident reports (325), followed by Campania (174) and Lazio (147). The absolute number of cases obviously weighs both the total resident population and the quantity of economic activities (and their quality) present in the area. The discussion on the outcomes of the complaints is different: while in fact in Lombardy 56.6% of those exposed had a positive outcome (41.2% negative), in Campania the ratio was reversed, with 43.7% with a positive outcome , while 54.6% negative. At opposite ends of the ranking we find Molise, with 58.8% of complaints filed in 2020 for with negative results, and with 76.9% of positive outcomes for complaints. While Basilicata records the largest share of complaints still in the preliminary investigation (10%), followed in this respect by Calabria (8.3%).

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