129 people die in workplace accidents in Turkey in April

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A total of 129 people died in workplace accidents in Turkey in April, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing the findings of a report by the Health and Safety Labor Watch (İSİG).

According to the report, there have been 479 workplace deaths in Turkey so far this year, including eight minors.

Twenty-eight workers who died were refugees or migrants from Syria (12), Uzbekistan (4), Afghanistan (3), Iran (3), Indonesia (1), Russia (1), Pakistan (1), Serbia (1), Turkmenistan (1) and Ukraine (1).

Most of the deaths occurred at construction sites due to being crushed by equipment or falling from a height. The second biggest reason for workplace deaths was traffic accidents.

İSİG warned that as the summer months approach and the weather becomes warmer the risk of workplace accidents increases.

They advised employers to be more attentive to the safety of their employees. “Especially during the spring and summer, agricultural work increases and we see a lot of tractors involved in traffic accidents. It is important that employers make sure their vehicles are properly maintained and drivers well rested,” the report said.

They also recommended that companies take the necessary safety precautions to prevent explosions, fires, electric shocks and incidents of workers being crushed. Pointing out that an explosion took place in a dockyard in Istanbul’s Tuzla district on April 29, the report said such accidents had detrimental effects on everyone living in the area.

The report explained that female and young workers were most vulnerable to exploitation and accidents and suggested that unions encourage their membership and participation in activities.

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

Turkey was named one of the world’s 10 worst countries among 149 in total for labor rights, in a report published in July 2021 by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

Turkey was categorized as a country where there was “no guarantee of labor rights,” meaning that while a country’s legislation may spell out certain rights, workers effectively have no access to these rights and are therefore exposed to autocratic regimes and unfair labor practices.

A total of 28,380 people have died in workplace accidents in Turkey since the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002, according to an İSİG report released in November.

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