"Dark side of flourishing economy": Quarter of Dutch workers hurt in industrial accidents

The flourishing Dutch economy has a down side, and that is that workplaces in the Netherlands are becoming less safe, according to trade union CNV. A quarter of Dutch employees in high-risk professions have fallen victim to an industrial accident at least once, according to a study Panelwizard performed among nearly 1,100 employees on behalf of the union.

Around 2 million Dutch people work in dangerous professions. That means that 500 thousand Dutch workers have been hurt in industrial accidents. 36 percent of workers said that there are more and more unsafe situations at their workplace due to the high workload. 25 percent of respondents said that their employer cares more about speed than safety, 21 percent said a high turnover has higher priority than safety, and 17 percent said their employer ignores employee complaints about unsafe situations.

"Shocking figures that confirm our view that the workplace is becoming increasingly unsafe, partly due to the high workload", CNV chairman Arend van Wijngaarden said. "This is the dark side of a flourishing economy. However, employees should never fall victim to employers' growth ambitions. Safety is paramount."

Remarkably, the study found that employees in the 'public administration and government services' sector feel most unsafe. 45 percent of employees in this sector said they are often in an unsafe situation, and 42 percent have fallen victim to a workplace accident. "You would expect the government to be a good employer and guarantee the safety of employees", Van Wijngaarden said. "But the government is an outlier, unfortunately not in a positive sense. Time for the government to monitor its own rules more closely."

According to the union, this study shows that the few thousand workplace accidents reported to the Social Affairs and Employment Inspectorate are only the tip of the iceberg. "We suspect that employers often do not report accidents at work and that workplace safety is often violated", Van Wijngaarden said. CNV calls on employers to take measures to ensure that their employees are safe at work. 

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