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HomeLatest NewsWork activates risk prevention in SMEs after the rise in accidents

Work activates risk prevention in SMEs after the rise in accidents

Date: March 24, 2023 Time: 21:26:44

Government, autonomous communities and social agents have staged a choral agreement this Thursday, which this time has had the signatures of the president of CEOE, Antonio Garamendi and the president of CEPYME, Gerardo Cuerva. The Occupational Health and Safety Strategy (2023-2027) has seen the light after more than a year and a half of negotiations and aspires to be the guideline that the different sectors of the economy take as a reference to improve prevention labor. According to data published by the Ministry of Labor and Social Economy, in 2022 there was a 17% increase in fatal occupational accidents, many of them preventable as they were the result of falls from a height, entrapment or crushing, for which the actors have focused on SMEs in order to reduce these figures to zero.

As the signatories have detailed in the presentation ceremony, the strategy has focused the lines of action on six specific objectives and the third of them looks especially at small and medium-sized companies. In these, a problem of economic limitation or lack of organizational structure is frequently observed, which makes it difficult to distribute roles in this matter, since often the same person accumulates an endless number of roles. For this reason, the public administrations have committed themselves in this strategy to “promote the improvement of working conditions (…), promoting effective prevention, compliance with legislation and the transfer of knowledge and good sector practices”. On the other hand, businessmen, represented in CEPYME, have acquired the obligation to encourage participation and training in this area and integrate it into the business culture, as part of corporate social responsibility.

However, the different actors have coincided in pointing out the need to review the current regulations -which date from 1995- so that, on the one hand, it is easier to apply in the material reality of each small and medium-sized company and, on the other, that there is an adequate balance between the own resources that the company must contribute and those that are contributed by public institutions. In addition, the social agents have determined that it is necessary to develop a new law that addresses the specific characteristics of these businesses and has a true preventive utility. For this purpose, a new social dialogue table will be convened, as announced by the Minister of Labor in the same act.

“I have an obligation to listen to the SMEs to bring their demands to the social dialogue tables along with the interests of the workers,” Gerardo Cueva stated after the staging of the signing. The representative of CEPYME has celebrated that on this occasion these requests have been heard by the rest of the gathered actors and has assured that it is a “beautiful moment”. Cuerva has ensured that this strategy goes beyond an agreement and involves the consolidation of an entire infrastructure that broadens the spectrum of labor relations. Consequently, he has asked for the “maximum consideration and respect” for what was agreed and that all those present at the act commit to reaching the practice and complying with it.

The UGT secretary, Pepe Álvarez, has also alluded in his speech to the complexity presented by the development of risk prevention in small and medium-sized companies, where union representatives lack strength and means. Likewise, as the union association has repeatedly denounced and the report includes, these companies usually outsource the work of occupational risk prevention, which results in a lack of link between the company and the contracted services. Along these same lines, the secretary of occupational health Ana García de la Torre pointed out in the evaluation of the data on occupational accidents for 2022, who stated that company policies were often aimed at complying with the requirements of the standard instead of coverage a true task of prevention.

New occupational hazards: teleworking and high temperatures

In addition, the strategy that will serve as a roadmap until 2027 studies the new occupational risks that come hand in hand with the transformation of the labor market and also with the transformation experienced by life as a whole. The stakeholders have highlighted the importance of improving prevention mechanisms aimed at workforces with an increasingly higher average age, given the obvious aging of the country’s productive fabric. Although they have also focused on the psychosocial risks associated with the digital revolution and the need to increase efforts to face new scenarios such as teleworking or the difficulty of complete digital disconnection. However, they have also placed emphasis on addressing the risks derived from climate change, such as exposure to high temperatures that cost the lives of several workers this summer.

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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