According to the most recent estimates by the International Labour Organization, 2.78 million workers die each year from work-related injuries and illnesses. Additionally, nearly 400 million non-fatal work-related injuries occur annually. Work-related mortality accounts for 5% of the global total deaths and the global economic impact of poor occupational health and safety practices, along with the failure to adequately invest in OHS employee trainings, is estimated at nearly 4% of the Global annual GDP, which accounts to EUR 3 trillion for last year. In the EU-28, the number of non-fatal work-related accidents that result in at least four calendar days of absence from work is estimated at over 3.2 million annually, with the number of the fatal work-related accidents to be at its highest (more than 5.5 fatal accidents per 100 000 workers) in Romania and its lowest (1.00 per 100 000) in Germany, where the lower mortality rate comes with high annual costs due to work-related sick leave estimating a loss of productivity of 3.1 % of GDP.
Though largely based on the general principles of the EU-OSHA legislation (the framework Directive 1989/391/EEC) and the key strategic objectives set by the EU Strategic Framework on health and safety at work 2014-2020, Member States have their national management system standards for occupational health and safety and follow different approaches to practical implementation of OHS legislation. Furthermore, the practical implementation varies strongly across different industries and different types and sizes of companies.
Whereas the most work-related accidents are recorded in the construction and manufacturing sectors, they are a quite common occurrence in all industry sectors, for example: wholesale and retail trade (12.8 % of the total in the EU-28), administrative and support service activities (7.6 %).
Small and micro businesses, where the fatality rate in SME companies is higher than those of large ones and public bodies, pose a great risk, as they fail to implement efficient OHS measures due to a lack of investment, awareness of obligations, or available expertise.
Within an enterprise’s structure, most senior managers do not have an up-to-date understanding of their risk prevention and OHS responsibilities, and many employees neglect health and safety training based on the wrong assumption that their work does not involve much risk.
Investments in OHS training result in higher stuff retention, productivity, and return ratios, and all businesses should maximise their workplace health and safety policies, by implementing a steady flow of OHS trainings for all employees, from top managers to newly hired trainees. Managers need to undergo trainings to understand the framework of OHS legislation and set the health and safety policy for their organisation, undertake or revise risk assessment and control systems, investigate incidents and implement corrective measures and employee training activities to help prevent injury and illness in the workplace, such as: protective equipment, product safety, hazard communication, etc.
OHS compliance trainings, whether in the form of on-site trainings or e-learning sessions, including textual and multimedia content, are required to use both a language and vocabulary that all employees would equally-well understand, a real challenge for companies that employ a large pool of multinational staff.
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