What you need to know about the 1900 work accident law

Published on 25/04/2024

What you need to know about the 1900 work accident law

Published on 25/04/2024

Join our monthly Newsletter to receive free alerts from new posts

Tabla de contenidos

What you need to know about the 1900 work accident law

The first labor accident law was passed in 1900, before this, there was no type of protection. Even the 1900 work accident law is considered the first social security regulation in Spain, holding companies responsible for their employees’ accidents.

The objective of the legislation is to guarantee safety and health in the workplace. Specifically, the work accident law establishes a series of obligations for each company aimed at ensuring workers’ right to health and integrity protection in the workplace in Spain.

It is important to note that the right to social security is enshrined in Article 41 of the Spanish Constitution of 1978 and provides for a system of benefits structured at three levels: basic social security, assistance to cover professional and occupational categories, and complementary benefits.

The law provided significant benefits to workers, improving their working conditions. It also opened the opportunity for the hiring of insurance to cover professionals’ compensation and medical expenses, welcoming mutual societies. It also resulted in the creation of a labor administration capable of supervising, controlling, and penalizing non-compliance with regulations.

Mutual societies are private non-profit associations, directly regulated by employers, that protect workers’ well-being. Each company can, according to its needs, choose the mutual society it deems most convenient. In Spain, mutual societies are associated with each other in an organization called AMAT (Association of Work Mutual Societies).

What is meant by a work accident within the work accident law?

Reference is made to a work accident when an employee suffers physical harm during their working day and at their workplace.

The specific parameters that determine what constitutes a work accident are currently described in Article 156 of Royal Legislative Decree 8/2015, which approves the consolidated text of the General Social Security Law and officially establishes the following determinative damages:

  • Those suffered by the worker when going to or returning from the workplace.
  • Those suffered by the worker on the occasion or as a consequence of holding elective trade union positions, as well as those occurring when going to or returning from the place where the functions of such positions are exercised.
  • Those occurring on the occasion or as a consequence of tasks that, even if they are different from those of their professional group, are performed by the worker in compliance with the employer’s orders or spontaneously in the interest of the company’s proper functioning.
  • Those occurring in rescue actions and in others of a similar nature, when both have a connection with work.
  • Illnesses, not included in the following article, contracted by the worker due to the performance of their work, provided that it is proven that the illness was exclusively caused by the execution of the work itself.
  • Illnesses or defects suffered previously by the worker, aggravated as a consequence of the injury constituting the accident.
  • The consequences of the accident are modified in their nature, duration, severity, or termination, by intercurrent illnesses, which constitute complications derived from the pathological process determined by the accident itself or have their origin in conditions acquired in the new environment in which the patient has been placed for their cure.

Article 156 also explains what is not considered a work accident, thus clarifying any confusion in this regard, stating the following possible damages:

  • Those due to force majeure unrelated to work, understood as that which is of such a nature that it has no relation to the work being performed when the accident occurred. In no case shall heatstroke, lightning, and other similar natural phenomena be considered force majeure unrelated to work.
  • Those due to the willful misconduct or gross negligence of the injured worker.

As well as the reasons that will not prevent the qualification of a work accident:

  • Professional imprudence resulting from the habitual exercise of a job and arising from the trust it inspires.
  • The concurrence of civil or criminal liability of the employer, a co-worker of the injured worker, or a third party, unless it has no relation to work.

Managing a work accident in accordance with the work accident law

As mentioned earlier, the work accident law defines a work accident as the sudden damage suffered by a worker while performing their duties during working hours.

This damage can be physical or psychological, preventing the worker from continuing to perform their duties as usual.

When a work accident occurs, which meets the criteria outlined in the work accident law, the company is obligated to provide medical assistance to the worker. Therefore, it is necessary for the organization to have a mutual service, or alternatively, provide such security and prevention service itself.

Work accidents can occur at different levels: minor, severe, and urgent, both psychologically and physically.

If a minor work accident occurs, the company must have a first aid kit.
If the physical or psychological damage requires medical assistance, the company must complete a form, provided by the mutual society, explaining the reason for the work accident. This form must be given to the worker, or depending on the case, to their companion so that the affected person can be attended to by a doctor from the same mutual society, and the corresponding sick leave can be processed.

In case the damage requires urgent medical assistance, the mutual society must attend to the scene of the accident and assist the worker. If they do not have a service available at the time, the company must transport the affected person to the nearest hospital and register them as an urgent case, stating that the accident was work-related.

Once the affected person has been attended to, they may or may not receive sick leave, temporarily or permanently, which the company must manage, both internally and administratively, in accordance with the work accident law. That is, it must rearrange the worker’s work schedule and projects and communicate the work accident and deliver the sick leave, if it exists, to the competent labor authority.

It is possible that a work accident may cause permanent damage to the worker, rendering them unable to return to their work activity, and in an unfortunate case, it may result in the death of the professional. For either scenario, the work accident law requires the company to report the work accident and its consequences to the competent labor authority within 24 hours of the accident occurring.

To streamline the management of sick leave, it is advisable to have a tool or software that automates the associated processes, especially the work schedule, such as Time Management

Company obligations for the prevention of work accidents

There are a series of mandatory requirements to prevent the damages outlined in the work accident law. These are a series of practices and documents that the company must offer to its workers and keep available, in case of a labor inspection, to ensure safety in its workspaces.

  • Occupational risk prevention plan
  • Risk assessment for safety and health in the workplace
  • Planning of preventive activity
  • Carrying out checks on the health status of workers and related conclusions
  • Report of work accidents and occupational diseases that have caused the worker an incapacity of more than one day of work.

Beyond the mandatory written documents, the company must strive to identify practices that may lead to work accidents, in order to prevent them and invest in audits, training, clothing, policies, technologies, and all necessary strategies to provide safety and well-being to the work team.

Time management software - free trial

Table of Contents

Artículos relacionados