Who is most likely to have a work accident, frontline worker in the maquila or protester in a department store? The answer may seem obvious, but in reality, incidents may occur more regularly among activities generally perceived as less risky.
“Incredibly, there are trades that present less risk than others and which are the toughest. What makes a person have a more frequent or more serious accident is the lack of training and knowledge. There are oversights, overconfidence and disinterest because they consider that the risks that a job can have are not so serious”, explains Eloísa Añorve Téllez, founding partner and director of Training and Training of the firm Safety and Hygiene Engineering Services (Serve).
In the last reported year 305,646 accidents at workaccording 2021 Statistical Reports of the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS). The 10 jobs with the most incidents were:
- Sales Clerks and Dispatchers
- Warehouse Control Employees and Managers
- Street sweepers and cleaners
- demonstrators and promoters
- Sales drivers
- Support workers in the industry
- Truck, van and utility vehicle drivers
- Industrial machinery operators, assemblers and transport drivers
41% of workplace accidents were caused by exposure to inanimate mechanical forces29% were due to falls and 14% to overexertion.
“These data can be seen in two aspects. One is the safety culture In organizations, there are companies that can be at zero risk, but if the safety culture is not well established, it will have many more accidents than a company with more risk. The other aspect concerns the risks inherent in the activity and the industry in which the person is, “explains Miguen Agustín Garza, occupational health consultant.
In this sense, Eloísa Añorve considers that an explanation to the Work accident In some occupations that may be considered low risk, it is because in industries with a higher proneness to incidents, there are more protocols and attention to detail.
“Due to the high risks they run and the seriousness of the accidents that can be caused, they maintain an excellent occupational risk managementdespite the fact that their workers are exposed to very high risks”, underlines the specialist.
Miguel Garza agrees with this, companies that are more likely to record accidents pay more attention to the “materials they use, protective equipment, discussions with workers and active breaks”, which is often overlooked in low-risk organizations.
The construction, self-service and food distribution sectors topped the sectors with the most specific cases of Work accident. Although in incidence per 100 workers, self-service stores, temporary accommodation services and the food and beverage preparation industries lead the way.
How to avoid accidents?
For Miguel Agustín Garza, one of the challenges in building a culture of occupational risk prevention it is the congruence of leaders between what they say and what they do. “The reality of everything is that yes or yes, the highest echelons need to be changed.” But also, believes the specialist, it is important that, whatever the experience of an employee, he does not stop paying attention to the details concerning safety and health at work.
From Eloísa Añorve’s point of view, leaders must be convinced that security is “a competitive advantage” for companies. In this sense, the work must be done within the time allowed to carry out a procedure, check the protective equipment, promote training and generate a trusted environment which allows workers to report the risks they perceive in their activities.
Prevention not only improves a company’s competitiveness, it also reduces costs. For example, underlines the specialist, a death costs an organization on average 28 years of the salary of the person who dies. “The more accidents you have, the more death and disability, not only does the risk premium of the affected worker increase, but that of all those who make up the organization. For this cost that the employer pays, it is worth investing in adequate risk control.
Experts agree that even if occupational hazards they cannot be eliminated, they can be reduced if a culture of prevention is worked on in all areas of business, from corporate to operational.