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In 2015, 29% of occupational injuries affected young people, according to the General Workers’ Union (UGT), which also denounces the fact that younger workers on short-term contracts are more likely to sustain an occupational injury.
The trade union asserts that young people are “the cannon fodder” of job insecurity and staff turnover. In the under-35 age group, the great majority sustained minor injuries (136,621 injuries). However, there are 648 serious injuries and 46 fatal injuries. Of the total number of injuries that resulted in lost work time for these young people, 30% had a contract of less than two months’ duration. The accident rate is higher among young males than among young females (72% versus 36%). Travel injuries affect males and females equally, although fatal injuries are more frequent among females.
According to the latest figures provided by the Spanish Social Security system’s Occupational Disease Observatory, relating to 2016, 17% (3,239) of the total number of occupational diseases which occurred during the workday (19,138) were sustained by young people aged under 35. 72% of the occupational diseases suffered by young people are caused by physical agents and affect females more, but the difference is not significant (52% for females versus 48% for males). The UGT therefore concludes that it is “absolutely essential” to alter youth employment policies so as to build a more stable labour market. The trade union also stresses the importance of strengthening the mechanisms for monitoring and punishing companies which persist with their poor practices and abuse of workers, especially those in the most insecure sectors.
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