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Learning from occupational accidents

In The Netherlands, approximately 7 million people are employed by around 500,000 companies. Every year 230,000 employees in The Netherlands suffer an occupational accident. 70-80 accidents are fatal. This is over 600 victims a day and almost two deaths a week. A third of the victims can no longer work (temporarily) as a result of the accident.

RIVM manages a database called Storybuilder that contains data about serious industrial occupational accidents in The Netherlands. Employers can use this information to find out the cause of common serious accidents and use it to take effective measures. This enables them to improve shop floor safety.



The information in Storybuilder is based on accidents that were reported to and investigated by the SZW Inspectorate (formerly known as the Labour Inspectorate). The database currently contains approximately 25,000 accidents from the period 1998-2009 and from 2012. Factsheets about various types of accidents show the number of accidents, the severity of the accidents and the direct and underlying causes.

High-risk professions

Holding first place on the ‘top five high-risk professions’ list in The Netherlands is the group masons, carpenters, painters and other building trades. The top five is based on the information available about serious occupational accidents and on research into the exposure of employees to various types of hazards at work. This was used to calculate the risk that employees run of suffering a fatal accident, an accident resulting in permanent injury or an accident resulting in recoverable injury.

Specific analyses

In addition to the database and the factsheets there are example analyses available about occupational accidents in specific sectors or involving specific products, such as forklift trucks (pallet trucks, order pickers, reach trucks, container forklift trucks or motorised stackers). This enables employers to find out the causes of common accidents and to take effective measures in order to improve shop floor safety.

More information 

Occupational Safety