At least 463 people died in workplace accidents in Turkey in the first quarter of 2023, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing a report by the Health and Safety Labor Watch (İSİG).
There were 130 workplace deaths in Turkey in March, 182 in February and 119 in January, the report said.
The report stated that the most common causes of work-related deaths in the first three months of the year were traffic accidents, falling from heights, earthquakes that struck Turkey in February and injury from heavy equipment.
People who died in work-related accidents in the first quarter included 37 women and 24 refugees, the İSİG report said.
According to the report, 24 percent of the deaths were people who had been temporarily in a region affected by devastating earthquakes for seminars or work-related projects and people who were in their workplaces when the earthquakes hit.
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck near the Turkish city of Gaziantep – home to around 2 million people and on the border with Syria – as people were sleeping on February 6 was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude temblor that jolted the region in the middle of search and rescue efforts the same day.
The majority of occupational accidents occur in Turkey’s construction, transportation, agriculture, metals and chemicals sectors, where dangerous working conditions such as long hours, intensive labor, uninsured work and many other irregularities prevail.
A yearly report by İSİG revealed that at least 1,843 workers died in occupational accidents in Turkey in 2022.
According to İSİG, at least 30,546 deaths in work-related accidents have taken place since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in November 2002.
İSİG General Coordinator Murat Çakır said the reason for the record number of fatalities in work-related accidents has to do with the policies of the AKP, which he said aim to turn Turkey into a source of cheap labor for Europe.
People have been suffering from lax work safety standards for decades in Turkey, where workplace accidents are nearly a daily occurrence.