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April 28 is World Day for Safety and Health at Work

An increase in the number of people injured at work has been reported in ‎Bulgaria

Photo: БГНЕС

The National Insurance Institute reported more work-related accidents in ‎Bulgaria in the first quarter of the year. Incidents increased by 6.5% compared to ‎the same period last year. Throughout 2022, 2,141 occupational accidents ‎occurred at the workplace in Bulgaria, and 441 - when going to or returning ‎from work. There were 84 fatal accidents

Regarding the severity of occupational accidents, there is no change compared to ‎last year. The time required for the recovery of workers after an accident remains ‎unchanged - about 35 calendar days. ‎

Globally, around three million people die each year from accidents at work, and ‎tens of millions suffer from injuries and ill health. The International ‎Confederation of Trade Unions, on whose initiative the World Day for Safety ‎and Health at Work is being celebrated, has warned about this. On April 28 this ‎year, trade unions around the world are drawing attention to the risk of working ‎with toxic chemicals, as well as long hours of stress and exhaustion in the ‎workplace. ‎

The members of one of the largest trade unions in Bulgaria, CITUB, will honour on April 28 the victims of cancer caused by working in an environment ‎containing asbestos. They recall that asbestos is a coarse, fibrous material that is ‎used to insulate pipes, roofs and other construction materials. When these ‎materials are broken or destroyed, very small fibers of asbestos are released into ‎the air and can be easily inhaled by workers or bystanders. The majority of those ‎exposed to asbestos carry out demolition, reconstruction, renovation or ‎maintenance activities in buildings. Bulgaria has banned the import, production ‎and use of all asbestos fibers and asbestos-containing products since January 1, ‎‎2005, the union recalls.‎

Apart from the indisputable harm caused by prolonged exposure to toxic ‎materials during work, one of the most massive harmful factors for the health of ‎workers in Bulgaria remains overload, stress at the workplace and especially an ‎unhealthy working environment, says the labour law expert Dr. Todor ‎Kapitanov, vice president of CITUB, and adds:‎
Todor Kapitanov
‎"In recent years, no matter how much the enterprises in Bulgaria try to improve ‎working conditions, they largely remain insufficiently adequate to the regulations ‎and legal requirements for providing safe working conditions. There are still ‎many places where people work with poor lighting, noise, various pollutions, in ‎poor ergonomic conditions, not good work equipment, which cumulatively ‎affects health. And when we add overtime, due to various reasons and especially ‎the lack of staff, people are getting more and more occupied. Working in poor ‎conditions inevitably affects their physical and mental health, as well as family ‎relationships".‎

On April 28, CITUB honors the memory of those who died in work accidents. ‎Thanks to its "Prof. Dr. Zelyazko Hristov Charitable Fund", the union provides ‎scholarships to children whose parents have died in work accidents, which are ‎paid until they complete secondary education. "Even though the sums are not ‎sufficient, we are looking for any means to support such children who have been ‎left without a parent," explained Todor Kapitanov.‎

Photos: BGNES

Translated and published by Rositsa Petkova
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