Occupational safety to be under scope
2.2 million people die due to occupational issues, international labor body says. REUTERS photoTurkey’s new law on occupational health and safety has been criticized by many for putting big burdens on all employers, especially small ones, while studies show that 98 percent of occupational accidents and diseases are preventable.
Over 2 million people die due to accidents of employment or occupational diseases annually, according to the ILO. Turkey ranked first in Europe in the occurrence of occupational accidents, said the Istanbul Workers’ Health and Work Safety Assembly. All workplaces must hire doctors to intervene during emergencies, according to the new law on occupational health and safety, numbered 6331.
The Turkish Occupational Safety Week is being held from May 4 to 10. An employer has a general obligation to ensure worker health and safety, according to the new law on OHS, which shall enter into force until June 2014 by stages. In monitoring of such general obligations, certain mechanisms
are introduced, such as workplace doctors and occupational safety experts for all workplaces. This mechanism appears, however, to be vague to many employers, specifically the small enterprises.
Provision of this service may be financially supported by the Turkish Ministry of Labor if the workplace is classified as “very hazardous” or “hazardous” and has fewer than 10 employees. The workplaces which have more than 10 employees need to hire occupational health experts or to outsource this service. “All companies need to comply with the law provisions by July 2014; otherwise they need to pay high monetary penalties. In the first place, they need to prepare their risk assessment reports. If they do not, they need to pay 4.500 Turkish Liras to the state,” sector expert and workplace physician Orhan Bozkurt said.