SWEDEN: winter heralds increased risk of fall-related accidents at work

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The drop in temperatures and the arrival of snow are leading to fears of a possible increase in falls outdoors, the most frequent cause of serious accidents at work. Around 2,700 serious accidents – i.e. resulting in more than 30 days off work, medical invalidity or, worse still, death – were recorded as a result of falls outdoors between 2020 and 2021, 2/3 of which occurred between November and March.

Some occupational categories of people are more vulnerable to falls than others. This is particularly true of postmen and women, newspaper distributors, nurses and midwives, and window cleaners. More than 75% of serious accidents involving these occupations occur outdoors during the winter.

Simple preventive measures can be put in place, such as the use of anti-slip devices at frequent entrances and exits, snow removal and sanding, or wearing suitable footwear. Particularly sensitive environments, such as school grounds and pedestrian crossings, require special measures.

In an innovative move, Afa Försäkring and the Swedish Judo Federation worked together from 2018 to 2021 to offer judo-inspired training. The aim was in particular to reduce the suffering associated with falls at work, while helping to reduce care and rehabilitation costs for employers and society in general.

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