Over 1,000 people died from asbestos diseases


Over a thousand people died as a result of asbestos

Although the once popular insulation and fire protection material asbestos has now been banned throughout Germany for sixteen years, according to the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, more than 1,000 people die each year from the consequences of an aseptic illness. For the most part it is because there are several decades between the damage and the onset of the disease.

Work accidents related to asbestos occur again and again. Last week, employees in a logistics company in Hesse injured themselves because dangerous vapors had escaped. According to the data available from the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, such incidents are apparently not uncommon. In 2009, 1375 people died of an asbestos-related illness. A total of 2803 people died of an occupational disease in the period. Asbestos accounted for every second death. Those affected suffered from typical asbestos diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis or other types of cancer. Craftsmen such as locksmiths, welders, electricians, plumbers, roofers, masons or construction workers are still at risk for the most part. The professional group is particularly affected from the age of 50.

Asbestos has been banned since 1993
The manufacture, use and processing of asbestos materials has been prohibited in Germany for sixteen years (1993). However, up to 20 to 30 years can pass before asbestos poisoning provokes the onset of a serious illness. "This means that new cases can still be complained about today," says a "Report on the state of safety and health at work" (SUGA) published on Tuesday. The Federal Institute publishes statistics on occupational accidents every year. Because data from multiple sources are evaluated for statistics, the reporting period is always more than a year ago.

Fewer fatal accidents at work
The number of fatal accidents at work hit a new low last year, with 622 deaths. The accident rate also fell significantly compared to the same period in the previous year. Statistically speaking, around 26 reportable work accidents occurred out of 1,000 full-time positions. A total of 975,000 occupational accidents at the workplace were counted.

According to evaluations by the authority, significantly more statutory health insurers were on sick leave in 2009. While 98.4 cases of incapacity for work accounted for 1,000 insured persons in 2006, there were already an average of 114.3 sick days in 2009. On average, the duration of the incapacity to work was 12 calendar days. Here the sick days remained constant compared to 2006. For 2010, some health insurance companies report a falling number of sick leave. However, an increase in mental absenteeism can be observed. This is also reflected in the data from 2009. The proportion of absenteeism due to mental illnesses such as depression rose to 11.4 percent. Every fifth sick leave was triggered by back pain or other musculoskeletal disorders. With 14.8 percent, respiratory diseases take second place among illness-related absences from work. 12.2 percent had to be on sick leave due to an accident or injury. (sb)

Image: Jan Tornack / pixelio.de

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