The Nation



2011 flood crisis cost Thailand Bt1.4 trillion; 65,000 lost jobs

Last year's flood crisis has cost some 65,000 people their jobs and caused economic losses of about Bt1.425 trillion, a researcher told reporters yesterday.

Prof Paiboon Suriyawongpaisal from the Health Systems Research Institute (HSRI) said the losses were seven times higher than the 2011 state budget.

As per World Bank rankings, Thailand stands at No 4 among countries with highest economic losses due to natural disasters.

The professor went on to say that the crisis had affected more than 12 million people in 61 provinces.

In related news, the Social Security Office (SSO) is considering expanding the Workmen's Compensation Fund (WCF) to cover more businesses, SSO deputy secretary-general Arak Prommani said.

"To celebrate WCF's 40th anniversary, the SSO has decided to amend the fund so it suits the current environment better and covers safety in the workplace. We will also try to prevent employers from trying to skip their contributions. We will probably seek a bigger contribution for WCF, especially since modern technology puts workers at a greater risk," Arak said.

The SSO will also check to see if the current 60 per cent compensation was enough, he added.

The number of workers injured at work last year has dropped compared to 2010. Last year's records show that 590 workers lost their lives on the job, four were disabled and 1,630 had lost organs, while in 2010, 619 workers were killed, 11 had become disabled and 2,149 had lost organs.

Overall, working conditions seem to be getting safer. Records show that out of an average of 1,000 workers, 18.82 were injured in 2009, 17.92 in 2010 and 15.76 in 2011.

The number of those seriously injured also seems to be dropping, with 5.40 out of 1,000 workers affected in 2009, 5.22 in 2010 and 4.61 in 2011.

In 2011, more than 29,000 workers sustained cuts or stab wounds from objects at work, more than 20,000 were hit by falling objects and more than 19,000 sustained eye injury from objects or chemicals.

More than 36,000 workers lost one or several finger at work, some 23,000 lost their eyesight and nearly 9,000 sustained wounds on their body.

The construction business recorded the largest number of affected workers at 9,000, followed by food and beverage industry at 7,300, electrical appliances and vehicles at 6,900, producers of plastic goods at 5,900 and metal processing and smelting business at 5,800.

Labour Minister Phadermchai Sasomsap said to mark the SSO's 22nd year, his ministry would analyse its weaknesses and try to solve them, especially the problem of employers who owe the fund some Bt4 billion in pending contributions. The ministry aims to collect Bt2 billion from them next year.

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