Labour Inspectorate: The Number of Fatal Work Accidents Has Notably Decreased

During the first seven months of this year, 2,935 occupational accidents have been registered in Estonia. 2,264 of these were minor and 670 severe. One work accident was fatal. During the same period last year, 2,943 work accidents had been reported, 2,346 of which were minor, 580 severe, and 17 people had lost their lives.

The sphere with the most work accidents this year has been the manufacturing of metal products, followed by national defence and trade. The safest sphere was fishery where no accidents have been reported.

During the first half of this year, only one work accident had fatal consequences. Sadly, it was followed by another fatal incident in August. According to Maret Maripuu, Director General of Labour Inspectorate, fatal occupational accidents have notably decreased, but eight incidents were reported when the employee died due to a health disorder. All employees who died at work due to a health disorder were men aged over 60. “In an ageing society, there are increasingly more senior employees whose health needs greater attention. People should certainly listen to and follow their doctor’s orders on how to better keep their health at work. In turn, the employer should constantly monitor that the working environment is safe and health-friendly,” Maripuu added.

During the seven months, 1,618 labour disputes took place – 170 initiated according to the employer’s application and 1,448 initiated by the employee. When compared to the previous year, the most notable increase in the number of applications is found in the construction sector.

This year, labour inspectors have carried out 2,389 supervision proceedings – the majority of which concerned the construction sector, the manufacturing of metal products, and trade. 10,085 violations have been detected and 65 misdemeanour procedures initiated. Greatest problems in the checked enterprises concern the lack of the work environment risk analysis and inadequate training of employees. Risk analysis enables to create a safe and health-preserving work environment. The proper training and instruction of employees enables to prevent possible accidents – especially among young and new employees. Statistics shows that 35% of work accidents happen during the first year of employment. Regarding employment relations, the greatest deficiencies concerned the notifications about the employees’ working time and salary payment conditions.

During the first six months, 149 applications were filed for employing a child under 15. Consent was given for employing 1,797 children under 15, refusing decisions were made about 10 children. Starting from July 1st, 207 employees under the age of 15 have been registered at the working register, totalling to 668 children. 556 of these children were employed under an employment contract, 100 under some other agreement under the law of obligations, and 12 children were registered as working for free.

During the first half of the year, 135 notices were presented regarding the posting of 557 employees to Estonia. Most of the employees who were posted to Estonia are from Latvia, Poland, and Lithuania.