Are EU citizens safe at work?


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Every day around the world, people die or get injured as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases. In the European Union (EU), over 2 million non-fatal work accidents resulted in workers being absent from work for four days or more in 2017, while 2 912 of work-related accidents were fatal.

The standardised incidence rate has fallen over the past seven years in the EU (since the start of comparable time series), from 2.87 fatal accidents per 100 000 workers in 2010 to 2.25 in 2017.

Standardised incidence rate highest in Romania, lowest in Malta

Among individual EU Member states, 16 out of 27 EU Member States recorded a standardised incidence rate that was above the EU-average.

The highest incidence rates were recorded in Romania with 5.72 fatal accidents per 100 000 workers, followed by Bulgaria (4.30), Austria (4.11), Portugal (3.86), France (3.58) and Lithuania (3.47). By contrast, Malta registered the lowest standardised incidence rate in 2017 with 0.57 fatal accidents per 100 000 workers. Malta was followed by the Netherlands (0.78), Cyprus (0.85) and Estonia (1.02).



Source dataset: hsw_mi01


This information is published to mark World Day for Safety and Health at Work, an annual international campaign to promote safe, healthy and decent work, which is held on 28 April.



  • Fatal accidents are defined as those that lead to the death of the victim within one year after the accident took place. In more general terms, an accident at work is defined as an occurrence in the course of work, which leads to physical or mental harm of the person concerned. The number of accidents in a particular year is likely to be related to some extent to the overall level of economic activity of a country and the total number of people employed in its economy. Standardised incidence rates aim to eliminate differences in the structures of countries' economies. They correspond to the number of accidents per 100 000 workers adjusted for the relative sizes of economic sectors at EU level. The economic activities covered in this news item are NACE sections A and C-N.
  • The European Union (EU) includes 27 EU Member States. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. Further information is published here.


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