Fatal accidents’ causes in Spain: a regional cooperation research project

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inshtAccording to the Spanish law, employers must investigate work accidents in their premises. The main purpose of these investigations is to identify accidents ‘ causes in order to implement the most adequate preventive measures. This valuable information is internal and it is not available, in general terms, for others.

On the other hand, the labour authorities investigate all fatal accidents, but data gathered are not accessible for public use and it is disseminated in many regional bodies. Considering the importance of the knowledge of their causes as an input for the occupational safety policies, INSHT proposed a standardized procedure to gather information of all fatal accidents investigated by the regional authorities. Given this premise, a research project was born, as a model of cooperation between authorities, to configure a harmonized surveillance system to report fatal work accidents (excluding commuting accidents, traffics and “non-traumatic” deaths -such as heart attacks)-and their etiology, using a unified coding. The comprehensive code of causes –more than 150- was created by the group specifically for this project and has been reshaped to better fulfill the needs of the investigators (http://xurl.es/ntpcausas). The information collected has been analysed and presented in different reports, beginning in 2002, available at www.oect.es ( http://xurl.es/insht-1 ).

Types and causes of fatal accidents have been slowly evolving since the first study. Three causes, in average, are involved in each fatal accident, and according to the latest report, it is remarkable that almost one third of the causes are linked to work organization (present in 62% of the accidents), followed at a short distance by OSH management problems (26% – 53% of the accidents).

The studies also provide information about the risk assessment practices and the OSH management system implemented at the enterprise.

The last report was 2011 and those of 2012- 2013 will soon be published.

 

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