Worker killed at Istanbul construction site in latest labor accident

Worker killed at Istanbul construction site in latest labor accident

Worker killed at Istanbul construction site in latest labor accident

Workers were distraught following the news of the death of one of their colleagues at a construction site in Istanbul's Kadıköy district, Oct. 24. DHA Photo

A worker has been killed after scaffolding collapsed from the 14th floor of a construction site for a new residential tower in Istanbul’s Asian-side district of Kadıköy, in yet another labor accident that may add fuel to the debate on work safety in Turkey.

The accident took place on Oct. 24, when a large number of steel bars and timber fell to the ground where the workers were gathered before the start of their shift, leaving one of the workers under a large amount of debris.

The body of 22-year-old worker, Sezer Karakaş, was found by his colleagues, who rushed to the area after witnessing the scaffolding collapse.

The incident came only a few days after it was revealed that prosecutors decided not to press charges against the top board members of a construction company building the towers where 10 workers died in an elevator accident last month, which had put the spotlight on appalling safety conditions endured by many construction workers.

Construction companies have been accused of not fulfilling some of the most basic security measures and putting workers’ lives at risk with the absence of monitoring on their sites.

Following the latest accident, Kadıköy Mayor Aykurt Nuhoğlu said he had met with construction companies operating in the Kozyatağı area, including the Genç Yapı and Oran İnşaat consortium, which owns the site where the latest accident happened, as recently as two days ago.

“We warned them about the construction site and workers’ safety. But, as we can see, these sorts of accidents haven’t stopped,” said Nuhoğlu, suggesting that local municipalities did not have enough competencies on such matters.

“A legal arrangement on job safety with serious sanctions is absolutely necessary,” he said.

This year has been annus horribilis in 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 the September elevator accident prompted the government to prepare a special action plan on job safety. Officials, however, have been criticized for not enhancing the monitoring of work sites, while continuing to boost investment on construction.