Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday condemned an "insecure" job market and hazardous workplace conditions at a meeting with some 8,000 pilgrims in the Vatican.
"Difficult or insecure work conditions make for difficult and precarious conditions in society itself," the pope said, noting especially the "precariousness" of jobs for young people.
"Every effort has to be made to break the chain of deaths and accidents," Benedict told the pilgrims, many of them workers in the steel and chemical industries from Terni in central Italy.
Last year, 980 people died in Italy following an accident at work.
In 2007, seven workers died slow, agonising deaths in a steel factory in Turin in northern Italy -- owned by German industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp -- after a pipe burst, showering them with flaming oil.
In December, prosecutors requested the head of ThyssenKrupp's Italian division, Harald Espenhahn, be jailed for 16 and a half years for "voluntary multiple murder." The verdict is expected in April.