In 2020, almost 2.7 million non-fatal work accidents resulted in workers being absent from work for four days or more in the EU, while 3 355 work-related accidents were fatal.
Almost all the sectors of the economy recorded fewer accidents in 2020 compared with 2019, except for the health sector. This decreasing trend could be explained by the reduction or closure of specific activities with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
The health sector recorded a significant increase in accidents (+17% compared with 2019). The proportion of accidents recorded within the health sector increased from 11% of the total accidents in 2019 to 15% of the total accidents in 2020 at the EU level, Eurostat reports.
Severity of the accidents at work in the EU
Another way to analyse the information on work-related accidents is to look into their severity. The severity of an accident at work is the number of full calendar days where the victim is unfit for work due to an accident at work.
In 2020, the accidents that resulted in 7–13 days' absence from work represented the most frequent type of accidents (same as in 2019). There were 676 781 such accidents (25% of the total number of accidents).
Accidents that resulted in 1–3 months of absence from work were the second-most frequent type of accident in 2020 (519 695; 19% of the total number of accidents). On the other hand, 2019 data show that the second-most frequent type of accident was less severe (4-6 days absence from work). These less severe types of accidents (4-6 days absence from work) were the third-most frequent type of accident in 2020 (455 924; 17% of the total accidents).
The least frequent types of accidents by severity in 2020 were fatal 3 355 (0.1% of the total number of accidents) compared with 3 408 fatal accidents recorded in 2019. The second less frequent type of accidents were those that resulted in permanent incapacity to work or 183 days or more of absence from work 117 700 cases (4% of the total number of accidents) in 2020 compared with 139 482 such accidents in 2019.
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