39 per cent of all work deaths are in the building trade

A study into workplace accidents during the period of 1999 to 2020 has found that 96 per cent of all such fatalities are amongst men, with construction sites being particularly dangerous.

And while Cyprus was recorded as having the fifth lowest accident rate in the EU – with 535 per 100,000 – a significant amount of those were suffered by foreign workers, who account for 43 per cent of the fatalities.

The results were presented on Monday at the start of the health and safety work week across Europe, where Labour Minister Kyriacos Koushos said that the study will help direct policy and reduce workplace accidents.

Of the 28,000 recorded accidents, 23 per cent occurred in manufacturing, 21 per cent in construction, 19 per cent in catering and hospitality and 13 per cent in retail trade, among others.

But accidents in construction are by far the most fatal, accounting for 39 per cent of all such deaths – followed by manufacturing at 18 per cent.

In the construction sector, 33 per cent of those deaths were due to falling from heights – all of which were men.

The report also found that those aged 18-19 account for 45 per cent of the accidents in the hospitality sector, while 50 per cent of construction accidents were amongst those aged 65 and above.

The gender discrepancy is further highlighted by the fact that 77 per cent of all workplace accidents are amongst men.

“Reducing workplace accidents and dangers within the workspace is one of the most important duties and of the top priorities of the labour department,” Koushos said.

He added that the results will be closely monitored to find solutions and reduce the dangers faced by workers.

The results are based on a study which was carried out by the labour inspector department and the Cerides research group, from the European University of Cyprus.

In September, a Paphos company engaged in limestone extraction was fined €23,000 for failure to implement safety and health regulations in the workplace leading to the death of an employee and the endangering of other workers.

The company Gennadios Theologos & Sons (Skyropoiia) Ltd was criminally prosecuted over the 2019 accident at the Paphos quarry near Androlykos village when the foreign worker aged 40, a father of two, was killed while operating heavy machinery and a pile of rocks and soil collapsed, crushing him underneath.

The criminal action was brought by the department of labour inspection and as a result, the Paphos court just now fined the company €23,000 for failing to follow the minimum standards of safety in the field of mining or quarrying and did not employ enough qualified and trained people to have the job done safely.