Turkish authorities halt over half of construction projects

Turkish authorities halt over half of construction projects

Hacer Boyacıoğlu ANKARA
Turkish authorities halt over half of construction projects

Turkish authorities have halted over half of 1,800 construction projects following safety inspections in October. REUTERS Photo

Some 974 of a total 1,800 construction projects were halted following inspections made after deadly accidents in the sector in October, according to sources from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

“Disobedience of the rules is so common in the sector. We needed to close down over half of the construction sites that we inspected this month,” said the ministry’s Workplace Inspection Board head Mehmet Tezel.

One worker was killed after scaffolding collapsed from the 14th floor of a construction site in Istanbul’s Asian-side district of Kadıköy on Oct. 24, in another labor accident to add fuel to the debate on work safety in Turkey.

This year has been annus horribilis for Turkey in terms of labor accidents. The Soma mine disaster that cost the lives of 301 workers sent shockwaves throughout the country in May, while a fatal elevator accident in Istanbul in early September prompted the government to prepare a special action plan on job safety. Officials, however, have been criticized for not enhancing monitoring at the work sites, while continuing to boost investment in construction.

Tezel said 186 committees had been closely monitoring construction sites in 43 provinces across Turkey in October.

“We decided to halt 408 construction sites in the capital Ankara, 278 in Istanbul, and 131 in İzmir, among others. A total of 974 construction sites were halted from among 1,800 sites. This rate shows us how grave the situation in the sector is,” he added.

The principal aim of the inspection committees is to examine mining areas and construction sites where most of the latest deadly accidents have occurred.