Deaths at work

In Colombia the mining sector is the setting for ever more dramatic events. On the 13th of October at Suarez, a gold mine collapsed, trapping 50 workers 21 were killed, 26 seriously injured.

The plant was ordered to be closed by the government at the beginning of September, declaring it dangerous and a health hazard. But suddenly the apparent discovery of new deposits of gold brought many of the town’s inhabitants to work in the mine, even though an imminent collapse was almost certain.

The extreme poverty in which the proletariat of the town lives is the real cause of so many people working in the mine in inhuman conditions and where above all women are often victims of serious accidents.

Even in Italy where the poverty is not so extreme as in South America, deaths at work are a daily occurrence, usually ignored by the media or used for their own ends by various national politicians.

Every year they officially calculate 1 300 deaths at work without counting the informal sector or cases where death is not directly related to the involved occupation. Those sectors most at risk are where black market work is common: building and agriculture, but also transport where mortality rates are very high

Very high also are the figures relating to accidents at work, more than 960.000 per year according to official sources. Amongst immigrants, the average percentage rate of reported injuries is 11,71%, whereas for deaths, it is 12,03%: the substantial difference is an anomaly given that for Italian workers the percentage rate for injuries is far higher than that for deaths.

So it is very probable that a good proportion of those injuries are not claimed upon. If one calculates the number of deaths for the number of hours worked, the worst area is Molise, followed by Basilicata and Calabria and the southern regions in general where informal sector work, an old practice of national capitalism to lower the cost of labour, is very widespread.

Economic crisis fuels unsustainable work rates and can only accentuate this phenomenon even when workers have regular contracts. this is another sad demonstration of how the interests of bourgeois and proletariat are ever more incompatible.