Risk of accidents at work continues to fall

German Social Accident Insurance publishes annual figures for 2013

The risk of suffering an accident at work fell last year to a new record low. This can be seen from the financial results of the German Social Accident Insurance Institutions. The results show that the accident risk fell to 22.5 reportable occupational accidents per 1,000 equivalent full workers.

The number of occupational accidents fell overall to 874,514, despite an increase in the number of insured individuals. The number of commuting accidents rose to 185,667, owing to weather conditions. 20,136 new disability pensions were awarded in 2013 following occupational accidents. 455 occupational accidents were fatal, 45 fewer than during the previous year. 317 insured individuals died in commuting accidents, 69 fewer than during the previous year.

"This development ultimately shows that the efforts made jointly by companies, insured individuals and the statutory accident insurance institutions to improve occupational safety and health are worthwhile," says Dr Joachim Breuer, Director General of the DGUV.
In contrast, the German Social Accident Insurance Institutions noted a slight rise in the number of occupational diseases. Altogether, 71,579 suspected cases of occupational disease were reported, an increase of around 1.4%. The suspicion was confirmed for a total of 36,202 insured individuals. The majority of cases concerned occupational skin diseases. 4,815 new disability pensions were awarded in respect of an occupational disease. 2,343 individuals died as a result of an occupational disease; as in the preceding years, the most frequent fatal diseases in 2013 were asbestos-related.

The contribution target of the German Social Accident Insurance Institutions for trade and industry fell compared to 2012 by €64 million to around €10.5 billion. This resulted in an average contribution rate paid by industrial enterprises of 1.25% of total wage costs. The local, regional and federal authorities paid around €1.4 billion for the insurance of their employees and of students and schoolchildren, voluntary workers and further insured groups.

Slight drop in accidents among students and schoolchildren
The number of accidents at educational establishments covered by the German Social Accident Insurance for students fell by around 1.4%, to 1,212,563. This equates to approximately 71 accidents per 1,000 insured individuals. By contrast, the number of accidents suffered during commutes to and from educational establishments rose by around 1.3%, to 112,225. This corresponds to around 7 accidents per 1,000 insured individuals. 772 new disability pensions were awarded to students and schoolchildren in 2013 following accidents. 43 insured students and schoolchildren suffered fatalities – 6 whilst attending their educational establishment, 37 during the commute to or from it.

Background: mandatory accident reporting
In the general German Social Accident Insurance system, occupational and commuting accidents must be reported when they lead to death or to incapacity for work lasting longer than three days. In the German Social Accident Insurance for students, the reporting of accidents is mandatory when an insured child or student suffers an accident at the establishment or a commuting accident that is fatal or necessitates treatment by a doctor.