Labour Inspectorate: only three days passed without occupational accidents last year

01.04.2022 | 09:22

As the economy opened up in 2021, the number of occupational accidents increased. We lost around 1.1 million working hours due to occupational accidents.
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As the economy opened up in 2021, the number of occupational accidents increased. We lost around 1.1 million working hours due to occupational accidents.

There were 3873 occupational accidents last year. Of these, 2827 were minor and 1033 were serious. Thirteen people lost their lives at work. Only three days were without any occupational accidents.

According to the Labour Inspectorate Director General Maret Maripuu, the keywords of last year were the working environment risk assessment and vaccination. “2021 was the second year we spent with the coronavirus,” she said.  “Most employers also assessed the biological risk factor in the working environment risk assessment and did everything they could to prevent the spread of the virus in the working environment. In some workplaces, the most effective measure prescribed was vaccination, which caused a heated discussion within society.” Employers had to submit their working environment risk assessments to the Labour Inspectorate by September. “In order to help employers, we created a digital risk assessment tool, which made both risk assessment and preparing an action plan significantly easier,” Maripuu said. “The risk assessment tool was selected as the service with the best user experience in the public digital services competition Su/g 2022. However, more important than prizes is that employers embraced the new tool – 65% of all the risk assessments submitted to us were created with it,” she added.

The highest number of occupational accidents was registered in Tallinn and Harju County (1604), where the majority of enterprises and employees are located. In second place was Tartu County (497) and in third, Lääne-Viru County (299). Of our employees abroad, the majority of the accidents happened to builders in Finland and truck drivers in Sweden. 

More than half, i.e. 67% of occupational accidents happened to men. The most dangerous occupation for men is truck driving and for women, being a sales clerk.

The highest number of occupational accidents was registered in the trade sector, which has replaced both the construction and metalworking sectors for the second year in a row. The number of occupational accidents increased the most in the manufacture of chemical products and the timber industry, but decreased in agriculture, construction and national defence. The number of occupational accidents in the construction sector declined for the third year in a row. In 2021, the Labour Inspectorate carried out 3424 supervision proceedings, including seven targeted inspections based on the field of activity/issue. Construction, trade, and transport and storage were the main focus. The inspectorate received 57,400 requests for advice by telephone and e-mail.

The labour dispute committee settled 2116 labour disputes, which is 37% less than the previous year. Most of the petitions came from the construction, trade, accommodation and catering sectors. Of the disputes, 241 involved a foreign employee.

The Labour Inspectorate supervises enterprises with at least one employee working under an employment contract. There were 145,717 enterprises in Estonia last year. 53% of these enterprises and 89% of employees were under the supervision of the inspectorate.

In 2020, there were 3641 occupational accidents in Estonia, of which 2713 were minor, 918 severe and 10 occupational accidents resulted in death. The labour dispute committee settled 3378 labour disputes.