1,853 workers died in occupational accidents in Turkey in first 10 months of 2021: report

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Turkey recorded 1,853 deaths in work-related accidents in the first 10 months of this year, according to a recent report by the Workers’ Health and Work Safety Assembly (İSİG), the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported on Monday.

In the month of October at least 165 workers died in the country. Of these two were child laborers, 16 were women and five were migrants. The most deaths occurred in the construction sector, the report said, adding that the most common causes of work-related deaths in October were falling from heights, being crushed under heavy equipment and traffic accidents. However, deaths due to COVID-19 have recently become worryingly predominant especially among those working in the healthcare and education sectors.

Turkey has been suffering from low work safety standards for decades. Workplace accidents are nearly a daily occurrence in the country. In the worst work-related accident in Turkey’s history, 301 miners died in an explosion in Manisa’s Soma district in May 2014.

According to a report drafted in 2020 by Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), at least 25,716 work-related fatalities have taken place in Turkey since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002.

The report, which compiled figures from labor organizations and the Social Security Institution (SGK), reveals that 146 workers died in work-related incidents in 2002 and that this number gradually increased throughout the years, with at least 1,736 work-related deaths occurring in the first eight months of 2020 alone.

For the death figures of the last nine years, the CHP used data from the İSİG labor watch. According to data cited by the report, 10,975 workers had died in work-related accidents in the past five years.

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