The incidence of accidents at work has skyrocketed in the last year to a point where the unions have had to denounce this lack of protection that has become a characteristic of the Spanish professions since 2020. Also, problem no is exclusive to wage-earners, but self-employed workers have also faced more accidents, according to the data compiled by CCOO in the latest ‘Analysis of the statistics of accidents at work and occupational diseases in Spain in 2022. The rise in these data stands out in a scenario in which
In total, Spain has come to record 1,196,425 accidents at work during the past 2022, reflecting 10.4% more than in 2021 according to CCOO. On the other hand, the accident rate implied by sick leave has grown by 6.8% and in terms of mortality, 826 more deaths have been registered, causing an increase of 13.7% compared to 2021. Policies to safeguard labor well-being are one of the priorities that are included in Law 35/1995 on the prevention of occupational risks, in addition, these regulations were accommodated to promote teleworking two years ago, however, the results of these years reflected a more insecure climate where not even teleworkers They have managed to improve their working conditions in terms of health.
By sectors, the workers who have faced the most fatal accidents this year have been those who belong to the extractive industry with an incidence of 18.13%, which places these companies at the head of the statistics carried out by CCOO. On the other hand, agriculture has been the second sector in this ranking with 13.53%, followed by construction with 11.28%. This rise also clashes with the arrival of some purely office automation positions at these tops, since engineers, scientists and office workers have been groups that have been located in the middle of the table of these records.
When talking about teleworking, most of society thinks that accidents at work are incompatible with this modality, but that reflects more a lack of information than current legislation. In fact, physical problems are not an isolated event in teleworking, although there are not as many accidents as in the sectors mentioned above.
According to health experts, low back pain is the leading cause of occupational disability, affecting up to 80% of workers at least once in their lives. In this way, in the case of teleworking, employees have the responsibility of guaranteeing access to adapted and decent furniture so that teleworkers can carry out their work without being further exposed to these problems.
From the legal perspective
In order to correctly identify a work accident, it is necessary to refer to article 156 of the Work Accident Law. Juan Bernedo, a lawyer specializing in this type of process, acknowledges that “now we are in a time of full development of these disciplines, the initiative to regulate teleworking is correct, but it will have to be adapted to the new casuistry and circumstances that appear to be able to progress and correct those deficiencies that the legal system may present and that become manifest throughout its development. This does not provide the full legal certainty that both employers and employees demand, but more means and will are needed for its full development.
However, the lawyer affirms that the regulation of teleworking is still in its initial phase. This causes many controversies when it comes to verifying the injuries that are affecting teleworkers due to the lack of evidence that, in his opinion, cannot be necessary working from the privacy of home. Bernedo considers that “the pursuit of fraud by an employee towards his employees should never collide with the right to privacy of an employee who is doing his work remotely from his home. But nothing is absolute and there must be a balance of rights between the parties involved and each specific case must be taken into account to resolve any labor dispute.”
“Definitely yes, there is compatibility between commuting accidents and teleworking, for example, the employee who is authorized to carry out his work remotely in two different addresses and suffers an accident while moving from one to the other to carry out his work. A different thing is when the displacement occurs for non-labor reasons.” In this way, it is explained that accidents caused by traffic problems continue to rise, reflecting 62% of sick leave and 87% of work-related deaths, since many times teleworking is not done from home on a mandatory basis.
mental health and teleworking
According to the results registered during 2021 and 2022 in the statistics of work accidents and occupational diseases, the pathologies caused by working several hours subject to technology may be more difficult to detect socially from home, a recognized insurance that the climate of an office is more easy to detect the symptoms that can cause a sick leave. However, these follow-ups are much more complicated when each worker is in a different site.
In this context, the Cibernos technology website has recognized that poor teleworking management can cause problems such as emotional disaffection, difficulty in expression, isolation, decreased productivity, reduced learning, low self-esteem, work overload, and low back problems. All these symptoms could develop future problems related to psychological pathologies, since the mental health of employees is increasingly vulnerable. This is justified by the Fremap studies, since sick leave related to mental reasons has affected 30.9% of those under 35 years of age, the labor group that teleworks the longest.