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Fatal accidents in Nordic workplaces nearly exclusively involve men

| Text: Marie Preisler

Men in the Nordic region are involved in fatal accidents at work far more often than women. 1,157 men died in work accidents between 2003 and 2008, compared to only 85 women.

In Denmark, Sweden and Finland 92 percent of fatalities are men, while figures for Norway and Iceland are 96 and 100 percent respectively. 

"These figures highlight a clear discrepancy when it comes to the Nordic gender equality debate. There is not enough focus on safety in the work place, even when it clearly means major losses for the men," writes a group of researchers who have been looking at all work-related deaths in the Nordic region over a five year period.

The report 'Fatal Occupational Accidents in the Nordic Countries 2003 – 2008' is financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers. It shows there are between 1.51 and 2.49 fatal accidents at work per 100,000 workers each year in the Nordic region.

Iceland tops the statistic. The country's large fisheries industry is not the main reason for this - the chances of work-related death is greatest within the building industry.

128 preventable deaths in Denmark

Denmark comes second with 2.0 work-related deaths each year per 100,000 workers. The number for Norway is 1.81, Finland has 1.75, and Sweden is bottom of the statistics with 1.51 fatal accidents at work per 100,000 workers. If Denmark applied the same workplace safety rules as Sweden, 128 deaths could have been avoided, the researchers say.

Most fatal accidents happen in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, followed by the building industry and transport sector. The common denominator for all these is that most workers are men. 

Work vehicles represent the material most often involved in fatal accidents, which typically happen by falling, loss of control and breaking material.

The report recommends closer cooperation between the Nordic countries to make information about accidents at work easier to compare, especially when it comes to investigations and the registering of work-related accidents. This would also make it easier to identify ways of preventing further accidents, the report concludes.

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