2,006 workers killed in workplace accidents in 2017 in Turkey: Report
A total of 2,006 workers were killed in workplace accidents in 2017, a report by the Workers’ Health and Work Safety Assembly (İSİGM) said on Jan. 6.
The number of deaths has increased since 2016, when 1.970 workers were killed in the country, the same report said.
According to the report, which has gathered data from the Turkish media, five workers were killed every 24 hours last year.
Of the 2,006 workers killed that year, 116 were women.
İSİGM is an NGO comprised of workers, workers’ relatives, doctors, engineers, academics, journalists and lawyers who deal with labor issues.
Deaths mostly occurred in the construction, agriculture, transport, trade, metal and mining industries.
There were 453 workers killed in the construction industry, 385 workers in agriculture and forestry, 272 workers in transportation, 154 workers in trade, 116 workers in the metal industry and 93 workers in the mining industry, according to the report.
The report has also delved into the causes of the workplace accidents.
The leading cause of the on-the-job deaths were transportation accidents, with 446 workers dying in traffic accidents in 2017, while other main causes include being crushed under heavy equipment, heart attacks, falling from high places, brain hemorrhage, workplace violence and electric shocks.
Some 347 workers were crushed to death by machines after they toppled onto them. Some 317 workers died after falling from high places, 183 workers died as a result of heart attacks and brain hemorrhage, 164 workers due to workplace violence and 135 workers were killed by electric shocks.
The deadliest province for workers in Turkey was Istanbul, where 230 workers died while on the job, followed by the Aegean province of İzmir with 93 deaths, the Marmara province of Bursa with 88, the Mediterranean province of Antalya with 79, the Central Anatolian province of Konya with 72, the Marmara province of Kocaeli – also known for being an industrial city – with 71, the capital Ankara with 67, the Aegean province of Manisa with 65, the southern province of Adana with 62 and the Aegean province of Denizli with 52.
In 2017, 60 children, 18 of whom were under the age of 15, were killed due to workplace accidents.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy chair Veli Ağbaba, who is also a coordinator of the CHP’s labor bureaus, said the number of workers killed in accidents increased by 10 percent during the ongoing state of emergency, declared immediately after the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
“The state of emergency is encouraging workplace unsafety, negligence, disorganization and workplace violence. Turkey is experiencing the worst time under the state of emergency,” Ağbaba said.
The number of child laborers are also at an alarming level, according to the CHP lawmaker, who said that in 2012, there were 601,000 child workers, but the number was now approaching 2 million, all of who work unregistered.
Workplace accidents are not rare in Turkey. In 2014, 301 miners were killed in the country’s deadliest industrial accident in the western town of Soma.