European Agency for Safety and Health at Work

More employees die from work accidents in small enterprises

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Employees in small enterprises have a greater risk of dying from a work accident than their colleges in larger enterprises with more than 50 employees.

This is the situation in both Denmark and the EU. This is happening even though many small enterprises want to do an effort towards improving the work environment and avoid accidents.

The research centre DAVID and The National Research centre for Work environment will between the 20th -24th October focus on the challenges that small enterprises are faced with in regards to the work environment. More than hundred researchers will meet for the first international conference dealing with small enterprises and the work environment – USE2009.

98 percent of all Danish enterprises need information

The small and medium sized enterprises represent 98 percent of all Danish enterprises. Often the small enterprises lack personnel with professional expertise within the field and they rarely have a person responsible of HR. Therefore, the owner or general manager has the responsibility for completing a task that they do not posses the necessary knowledge to solve.

“It all comes down to creating a specific solution that will secure a better work environment, and equally important, that will help the smaller enterprises in Denmark and the rest of the world', states Peter Hasle from the Danish National Research centre for Work environment.

Can it be avoided?

Many accidents can be avoided. The first step, in preventing accidents, is to have a workplace risk assessment. That is the message in the ongoing European campaign ”Healthy Workplaces. Good for you. Good for business”, which has been running in 2008/2009 by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA). The Agency’s Director Jukka Takala formulated the campaign’s key message in this way: ”A workplace risk assessment is not necessarily a complex and bureaucratic task only for experts. EU-OSHA has created a simple five-step model. A correct workplace risk assessment gives a range of economic benefits, as it makes the workplace safer, healthier and therefore reduces the absence and increases the employees’ motivation and productivity”.

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