miércoles, 1 de mayo de 2013

Principal consequences of an occupational traffic accident

In Spain nearly a third of the fatal occupational accidents are caused by the traffic. A study conducted by the National Institute for Workplace Safety and Hygiene (INSHT) in 2010 confirmed that the majority of the occupational traffic accidents produce themselves on the way from home to the working place or vice versa (commute), which in technical terms is called “in itinere”. According to the study 71,6 % of the 65.446 occupational traffic accidents which have produced themselves this year, occurred “in itinere”, whereas the remaining 28,4 % occurred “in mission”, which means during the journeys made due to the working place.

In the year 2010, 188 of the 757 fatal occupational accidents were “in itinere”. We also know, that the accidents from and to work do show the peculiarity that they affect especially the feminine workforce, a lot more than any other kind of occupational accident.

The occupational traffic accidents, which comprise both the accidents “in itinere” and “in mission”, known as well as occupational road accidents are not the ones that are predominant in the global computation of the occupational accident rate, however, one of their peculiarities is their gravity in comparison to the other variants. Furthermore, we know that the vehicle implied in the majority of the cases is a passenger car.

In Spain the law 31/1995 from 8th of November about the safety at work which obliges the companies to guard for the safety and health of their employees while they are carrying out their work and also on their way there. Public administration has to supervise the compliance of this norm, but logically, exclusively the inspection cannot be the solution. In my opinion, without an active sensitization between employer and employees this situation hardly can be improved. Maybe the way to potentiate the policies of entrepreneurial social responsibility are not the ones of coercion and the fear for penalty, but the monetization of the externalities the occupational traffic accidents provoke in the balance sheet of the company. It is not only about gaining life expectancy and safety in the organization, but also to win money, simply because we cease to lose it.

The principal costs of the occupational traffic accidents are of a personal nature: the first thing we evaluate always is the loss of a life or the physical or psychological aftereffects of an accident as well as the vital and emotional changes which reduce the quality of live of the affected persons and of the people closest to them. However, they also cause economical costs for the company of the employee who has been casualty of an accident, which are ceasing profits due to loss of productive activity of the casualty of the accident or the accused. There are other aspects relevant for the functioning of the company like external and internal image loss with a higher demotivation of its employees, lost working days to be paid by the employer, increase of the assurance fees for their vehicle fleet, reparation of the vehicles – dependant on the conditions of the insurance policy and the responsibilities of the assured in the accident– an increase of the social security taxes or loss of subventions…

Finally there are the public administrations which also assume costs which then revert in society, as for example the rescue works after the accident, the administration of the traffic congestions produced by the accident, the reparation of the damages on the public streets, the payment of the sick leave, the legal and hospital expenses, which normally are being assumed – or not depending on the case - by the assurance companies. After a severe occupational accident, the administration switches over from paying the employee and employer part of the fees to the Social Security to paying pensions for invalidity or widows annuity. We also must not forget the impact on the environment, for example in the case that the occupational traffic accident causes illicit release of contaminant products, with the elevated cost the undoing of its consequences has for its surroundings.

And lastly, from a social point of view we know that we find ourselves before a significant case of a reduction of the life expectancy in determined sectors of our society, fundamentally in young males. And nonetheless the answer of some of the employers to the described panorama is:  “Yes you are right, but the probability to have an accident in a medium sized or small company is very low and I prefer to assume this risk, as if I didn’t have more urgent preoccupations than this one…” I think that these employers do not perceive the magnitude of the problem, because they do classify it as a very low probability, inferior to the one of losses caused by theft or strike.

To achieve a correct approximation to this problem, firstly, we have to know the economical impact of an occupational traffic accident in Spain, and secondly to analyse the probability of a traffic accident being caused in our company. This will vary according to the branch of the business, the geographic environment in which it moves itself, the size of the fleet and the type of vehicles the employees use to go to work. These probabilities have to be calculated in a one, two or up to 10 years view. And thirdly, the consequences from light to severe for the productive process of the company must be evaluated. The objective is to determine the financial impact of the risk. The employer should contemplate the threat of an occupational traffic accident within the prevention policy of his company as well as in his planning of the legal risks, although unfortunately this is not always the case.

Many employers and employees think that the car insurance covers all claims, which is not true. According to the law, an employer has a compensatory civil responsibility for its workers who have to drive to execute their work from which the employer obtains an economical benefit. And for this reason he should be prepared for a contingency which can cause a severe economical damage in his organization. It is not the same if the judge declares labour imprudence as the cause of an accident or wilful misconduct or serious negligence of the collaborator (art.115.5 LG de la Seguridad Social) as the economical consequences for the entrepreneur and the driver differ substantially.

If an employee, casualty of an occupational traffic accident, shows positive in the alcohol or drugs control carried out posterior to the accident – here we must not forget that the occupational traffic accidents usually occur on the public streets, actuation protocols from the authorities come into force. The insurance company, protected by the law, will refuse to pay the indemnification and the legal administration will look for the penal and civil responsibility in the worker, which according to the defence strategy applied by the accused can derivate in the entrepreneur, which without a concrete plan for risk evaluation and risk management will be quite defenceless before the law. The complete protection structure of the insurance companies which we have arranged and which we hope will function after an occupational traffic accident, will disappear if it is proved that the driver, in consequence of his actuation, was conducting dangerous driving which provoked the accident.  

Last year, the Spanish Ministries of Labour and Interior signed a collaboration agreement to promote the mobility and road safety plans in the companies. In this agreement it was established that the enterprises which implement such mobility plans could benefit from reductions of their fees to the Social Security. A good incentive for a still widely ignored necessity, which is the vulnerability that a small or middle sized company might have in view of an occupational traffic accident.

Licencia de Creative Commons

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...