55 workers died during Istanbul Airport’s construction: Minister
Umut Erdem – ANKARA
Fifty-five workers have died on the construction site of the new Istanbul Airport, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turhan has said in response to a parliamentary question submitted by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu.
“Even though all measures were taken within the construction period, 30 people died in work accidents and 25 of natural causes,” the minister said.
“Deaths by natural causes are not due to the workplace or the employer,” he added, without further elaborating.
The causes of the deaths of 30 workers include unwariness and carelessness, getting too close to the pond on the construction site despite a prohibition, not reattaching protection measures after removing them, the worker putting his body between the dumper and the chassis while the dumper was moving, using unsuited electric cables and outsourcers’ deficiency in taking the necessary measures, Turhan said.
Turhan said a total of 200,460 people had worked on the airport’s construction site, completing nearly 245 million working hours.
The law stipulates an obligation to employ 130 safety specialists on construction sites, but at the airport construction this figure was 382, almost three-fold of what the law requires, the minister said.
Istanbul Airport, whose first phase was opened on Oct. 29 last year, has the capacity to welcome 90 million passengers annually. Following the second phase of construction, expected to be completed in 2023, the number will rise to around 200 million, according to officials.
The gradual shift from Atatürk Airport to the new Istanbul Airport will be completed on March 3, Funda Ocak, the general director of State Airports Administration, had previously announced.