15 deaths due to accidents at work in the Basque Country

Feb 25, 2020
While the search for the bodies of the two workers at Verter Recycling continues at the Zaldibar refuse dump, we have to mourn another fatal accident at work yesterday afternoon in the town of Murga, Gasteiz. A 30 year-old worker from the company Zorroza Gestión de Residuos died after falling from a height of 4 metres. He had only been working for a few weeks in the company that is engaged in collecting and recycling non-hazardous waste.

At ELA we would like to express our support and solidarity to the deceased worker’s family and colleagues, at the same time as demanding an immediate investigation of the accident to explain the reasons and responsibilities involved in this death.

Regrettably, this now takes the figure up to 15 workers who have died in accidents at work during the first months of 2020 in the Basque Country; with the last three being workers in waste management companies. It would seem that this company is mainly staffed by foreigners; specifically the worker who died was Senegalese and had only been working in the company for a few weeks. We do not know if he had been trained to work in elevated areas or if he had sufficient protection equipment. What is clear is that the steps implanted by the company, if there were any, were not adequate.

It is unacceptable that so many workers are dying while working, when today there is a clear regulation on the subject of prevention and suitable means to prevent accidents and occupational illnesses. But employers continue to see investing in prevention as an additional cost and they give higher priority to production than to the lives of their workers. The institutions are not reacting in view of this massacre and they continue following the same policies and means on the subject of health and safety at work, knowing that a great deal more could be done. An end will not be brought to accidents at work until steps are taken against job insecurity. Without any training, without any protective measures, without any investment in prevention, there will only be more accidents, more illnesses and more deaths.