When we talk about the great milestones in the recent history of our country, we must dedicate a special chapter to Occupational Risk Prevention Law (31/1995), published on November 8, 1995.
“The present Law aims to promote the security and the Health of workers through the application of measures and the development of activities necessary for the prevention of risks derived from work. For such purposes, this Law establishes the general principles relating to the prevention of professional risks for the protection of safety and health, the elimination or reduction of risks derived from work, information, consultation, balanced participation and training of workers in the field preventive, in the terms indicated in this provision. For the fulfillment of said purposes, this Law regulates the actions to be carried out by public administrations, as well as by employers, workers and their respective representative organizations ”. A compendium of the regulations, updated to the real needs, which allowed us to take a step forward in sectors with, until then, high rates of occupational accidents.
Between the areas of economic activity most favored highlights the Building. Traditionally with the highest accident rates, this sector was finally able to count on a unique legal framework, endorsed by the highest legislative bodies, that would protect both employees and businessmen.
And from Construction, to Civil Engineering. In the words of the Dean of College of Technical Engineers of Public Works of Alicante, Eduardo Vílchez, “this law made it possible to give the importance it deserved to workplace accidents. But also, and perhaps just as important, prevent them. In one sector, Civil Engineering, in which the security is fundamental, the appropriate legal framework was established for implantation from measurements, already obligatory, to protect all the personnel in charge of the Engineer ”.
But is this law enough? “Yes and no. In other words, from experience, we always recommend that all possible, but not mandatory, additional measures be taken beyond the norm. Thus, we avoid possible damage, no matter how small, ”explains Vílchez. “In addition, it must be taken into account that all laws must be reviewed periodically. This is not because it is insufficient, but often new processes, tools and professional profiles appear that require adapted legal responses ”.
By this, we mean the appearance of new technologies, such as the use of drones on site. This tool allows examining the deterioration of large infrastructures and determining the actions to be carried out in the first phase of construction. New appliances, also new professionals, who require an adaptation of the standards to their daily performance.
In general, the Law of prevention of labor risks It has promoted the professionalization of sectors such as Construction: employees better trained in this field and more aware of the need to follow standards for the physical safeguarding of the entire work team.
The Civil Engineer, likewise and as head of equipment, has assimilated a role of control and management of regulations which has allowed him to become a capable professional adapted to the new times.
One more step in Civil Engineering in its development, which has allowed to bet on the cReaction of healthy and professional work environments. Despite this, much remains to be done. According to the data provided by the Ministry of Labor and Social Economy, in its report “Statistics of Work Accidents 2019”, “the rate of accidents in working hours with sick leave shows a downward trend in the period 2006-2012, followed by a continued ascent in the period 2012-2017. In the last two years the trend has stopped, registering a data practically unchanged compared to the previous year in 2018, followed by a slight decrease in 2019 (variation of -1.2% in the wage-earning index compared to 2018) ”.
This increase since 2012, which has been slowed by the pandemic of 2020 (according to the advance of figures issued by the Ministry) is due to “the high rate of temporary employment and partiality in existing hiring”, as established by the UGT union in the document “Statistics of Work Accidents 2019. Advance Data” .
Since the Colleges of Public Works Technical Engineers We therefore continue to defend the creation and maintenance of contracts for stable work and in which the necessary training in Occupational Risk Prevention is allowed. This is a necessary and global issue, given that an employee well trained in this area not only protects himself but all his colleagues. The future of Civil Engineering passes through protection to its workers.
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