According to information from the State Labour Inspection, a total of 581 accidents have been registered in Latvia since the beginning of January 2015. In 67 cases of accidents, workers received serious injuries and in 43 cases – workers died in accidents. However, the majority of deaths are not related to the risk factor at work. Instead, they are classified as natural deaths.
Natural death occurrences are cases in which workers died at work because of a sudden decline of health. The number of such cases has grown considerably in Latvia over the past several years (32 in 2013, 42 in 2014 and 29 in the first five months of 2015).
«Every third employed person in Latvia believes the level of mental effort necessary for work has increased in the past year. When asked about their work environment, four out of ten Latvian respondents mention that the level of work intensity has increased for them. With that, a quarter of employed people in Latvia have health problems caused by their work environment. This is why it is incredibly important for employers and employees to follow their work environment and come up with proposals to improving it,» – said the head of Corporate Longevity and Responsibility Dace Helmane.
«Approximately one out of five lethal accidents happen to employees whose work experience is three years or less. This means that employers do not pay enough attention to personnel training and work safety matters. In order to improve this situation, both employees and employers should change their attitude,» – says Director of State Labour Inspection Renars Lusis.
Estimates show that poor work environment creates considerable losses. In the EU these losses are estimated at an average of 2.6% – 3.8% of GDP of EU member states. At least seven million or 3.2% of employed people end up in different accidents every year. Better safety training, safety rules and comprehensive approach to work only benefits the employer and employees by reducing the risk of accidents.
«Even though there are industries in Latvia in which the situation is good, industries like construction and forestry have almost Middle Ages level of work safety. The situation as a whole is not all that clear in Latvia. However, considering information regarding the state of work environment and the number of serious accidents, it may be very dramatic, and the level of costs caused by accidents in Latvia may be even equal that of Australia, where it is equal to 4.8% of GDP or EUR 1.11 billion,» – said Director of Riga Stradins University’s Work Safety and Environmental Health Institute Ivars Vanadzins.