DEATH AT WORK, or how to secure human labor

Analysis Materials 29 September 2005 18:05 (UTC +04:00)

Every year approximately 2.2 million people die in incidents at work and of diseases linked with the labor activities, and the figure can be incomplete, as the labor protection system and accountability is improper in many countries. The figure was indicated in the annual report of the International Labor Organization (ILO), presented to the 17th World Congress on labor protection on 20 September. According to the Statistical Review, developed by the European Union, 120,000 death cases linked with the labor activities were fixed in 15 EU countries. As of the ILO, it comprises 122,000 cases a year. The figure was 130,000 in the United States.

Though the number of diseases linked with the labor activities decreased in the industrially developed countries, the incidents, in particular, those with fatal ends, grow. It first of all concerns some Asian countries, which do not have efficiency accountancy system and which grow in term of tough rivalry in the period of globalization.

A could be referred to the least category, though enough attention was paid to labor protection in the country. A status of the Labor Inspection, established under Ministry of Labor and Social Security in 1997, was adopted in 1998 when a new Labor Code if the Azerbaijan Republic was developed. The establishment was issued a status, as it was charged in inspecting the labor security in the enterprises of the country.

Formerly, the trades unions fulfilled its functions in accordance with the Code of Laws on Labor and the Code on Administrative Violations.

Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani Confederation of Trades Unions said that a practice of last years demonstrated low efficiency of the labor state inspection while investigating the labor violations. It actually makes the entrepreneurs to hide any industrial injuries.

The same time the Ministry of Labor and Social Security also designed a draft law on injecting changes and supplements to the Code on Administrative Law-breaks. The document targeted toughening the punishment by the local by local and foreign enterprises, which violate the national labor legislation.

В"The defense of labor is a vitally important term of a deserved labor,” Khuan Somavia, the General Director of the ILO. Every day approximately 5,000 men and women die worldwide of incidents and diseases linked with the labor activities. The deserved labor should be safe and we should do much to achieve the goal.

The report says that in most developed countries the coverage of the labor protection system and accountability is weak, while in some countries the situation even gets more and more complicated.

As to Azerbaijan, in 2001 a total of 191 industrial injuries were revealed and investigated, according to the State Labor Inspection. As a result, 48 employees died, while 153 people received different service injuries. 213 incidents were fixed at enterprises in 2002, of them 16 were group injuries. As a result, 71 employees died, while 170 people received different service injuries. Over the first quarter of 2003 27 tragic incidents were fixed in the country, which resulted in death 6 people, while 21 people suffered service injuries. However, there are also unregistered cases.

In accordance with Article 217 of the Labor Code of Azerbaijan, an enterprise is committed to inform the State Labor Inspection on any case of industrial incident. However, the State Labor Inspection frequently obtain such data from the law-enforcement bodies, or medical institutions and the relative of the suffered. In this case the fine imposed is not so high and comprise only from 40 to 60 conventional financial units.

The report also noted every year 440,000 people die as a result of contact with dangerous substances. Only the asbestos kills around 100,000 employees a year in the world. For instance, the victims of asbestos in the UK comprise 3,000 people.

According to the State Labor Inspection, 30% of violations of labor legislation fell on industrial enterprises, over 10% - construction ( due to low registration of jobs places), 10% - transport sector, 12% - agriculture, 9.7% - communal economy, over 20% - other spheres.

Data by the ILO testify that the young employees aged between 15 and 24 more jeopardize becoming victims of industrial incidents rater their older co-workers. The same time employees aged above 55 are more imposed to risks of incidents at production and profession diseases.

The ILO stresses the necessity for efforts in the international, regional and national levels, as well as enterprises for preventing or cutting the incidents and diseases linked with the labor activities. The ILO designed a new Global Strategy comprised of 5 items, which calls on the use of the existing standards such as Convention 155 on security and hygiene of labor, which dates to 1981, and the Labor Security Convention. It is dealt with the legislative activities, observation of the laws, on inspection of the conformity of laws to the international norms, as well as the development of the potential of labor security protection, deepening of knowledge, exchange of information, researches and development of support services.

The most important is not to view the labor inspectors as an obstacle in the way of business: the experience testifies more efficient labor inspection exists in the countries with much competitive strength.