Today marks the kick-off of the “Know your rights – notice danger” campaign which draws attention to risks in machinery and equipment based work and calls upon employers and employees alike to be aware of dangers and prevent accidents at work.
Maret Maripuu, Director General of the Labour Inspectorate, says that nearly every fourth accident at work is caused by losing control over machinery, tools, or equipment. “This constitutes one of the most common and dangerous types of accident at work, caused mostly by recklessness or absent-mindedness but also by unauthorized adjustment of machinery. In most machines that are involved in an accident at work, safety components do not comply with requirements,” Maripuu explained. “Also, people tend to forget that work equipment manufacturers provide for protective features for a reason.”
With the slogan of the launched campaign – “Machines have power. You have reason – make sure the machine is safe” – the Labour Inspectorate wishes to address both workers and employers, calling upon them to make sure machinery used for work is in running order.
“Although it may sometimes seem that removing protective features makes work more convenient, this should not be done under any circumstances as removal of protective features constitutes an accident waiting to happen. A fact that speaks volumes is that quite often accidents do not happen to the person that readjusted a machine but, rather, to their colleagues or the machine’s maintenance personnel,” said Maripuu. “Employers must regularly check the condition of work equipment – if an employee changes relevant alignments without authorization, it is still the employer that remains liable if an accident occurs.”
The campaign which lasts until the end of May includes the World Day for Safety and Health at Work held on April 28. On this day it is recommended to call elevated attention to safe work procedures and liability of both employees and employers.
The portal http://www.tooelu.ee/en provides practical safety tips for workers that work with machinery, means of transport, and various tools but also for employers liable for the safety of employees using machinery.
Last year, the Labour Inspectorate registered 5,081 accidents at work, of which 26 ended in death. More than half of the accidents at work involved men, mostly male workers 25 – 34 years of age. Most accidents at work involving women occurred to female workers 45 – 54 years of age.
The most accidents at work per 1,000 individuals occurred last year in Lääne-Viru County where approximately 16 accidents at work happened per one thousand workers. The proportion of accidents at work per 1,000 workers increased most in Tallinn and Harju County and Võru County, and decreased in Tartu County, Valga County, and Rapla County.
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