249411 Accidents at Workplace and Workers' Compensation in Spain: Methods are not Neutral

Monday, October 31, 2011

José Luis Navarro Espigares, PhD, Prof, Mgr , Economic Department, University Hospital Virgen de las Nieves, Granada, Spain
José Aureliano Martín Segura, PhD, Prof , Department of Management, Granada University, Ceuta, Spain
According to the ILO, 2.3 million people die every year from occupational accidents and diseases, and 337 million are affected by non-fatal accidents in the workplace. Compensation systems for accidents are usually based on four components: bodily injury, moral damage, property damage, and lost income. At the international level, legal compensation scales are being used to reduce arbitrariness and variability in the calculation of payments for personal injuries. Nevertheless, moral damage is vastly undervalued. In this study, we address the issues relating to workers' compensation to cover damages derived from work accidents and occupational diseases, when admitted blame or negligence of the employer. We propose a method based on the combined utilization of the traffic accidents scale, along with other innovative elements such as “quality adjusted life years, QALYs”. To illustrate the differences between the proposed method and the method has been used regularly in Spain, we present three real cases. In some of these cases the differences exceed EUR 200,000. Our method incorporates an economic valuation of moral damage based on willingness to pay for a QALY, a concept habitually employed in economic evaluation of health technologies. Monetary value of a QALY is established from totally independent criteria, that is, based on the willingness of the society to pay, and separated from the interests of the agents obliged to pay the compensation. Thus, in this sense, we can say that our method incorporates a social perspective and offers many advantages, both legal and methodological.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Explain and discuss the Workers' compensation system in Spain.

Keywords: Occupational Surveillance, Occupational Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am associated professor at the University of Granada (Spain) and I also work as a financial manager in one of the largest public hospital in Spain.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.