Worker killed in latest Soma mine accident

Worker killed in latest Soma mine accident

Worker killed in latest Soma mine accident A worker has been killed in a coal mine in the Soma district of the western province of Manisa, which was the scene of Turkey’s largest-ever mine disaster three years ago when alleged negligence caused 301 deaths. 

İsmail Karakaya, 44, was killed in the İmbat coal mine after he became stuck in an electrical coal-breaking machine. 

Given that it is prohibited to advance within 50 meters of the machine, it is possible that the machine slid forward, a co-worker told daily BirGün on condition of anonymity, adding that the death of their co-worker was not properly announced and that they only learned about it by coincidence though other workers.

“They told us [the accident] and we said we did not want to go down to the mine. Upon this, the officials said, ‘Those who want to go down can go, and those who do not want to do not have to.’ So we didn’t go down,” said the worker. 

Another worker barely survived a landslide in the mine a few days ago but suffered injuries in the process, he said, noting that no announcement or explanation had been made despite the incidents.

“Nobody knows anything. We expected the union to send a message to us or share the information regarding the funeral [of Karakaya], but they neither made an explanation nor issued a message,” said the worker.  

“They passed a law and decreased the working hours underground to 37.5 hours [a week]. But when we get sick and do not show up even with a doctor’s report, they deduct our salaries. We lost our friend, and we want to go to his funeral, but they will also make deductions from our salaries. Our job is very intense and dangerous. They do not provide training either. A tiny distraction claims a life. And upon all of these, when they do not take the required precautions, the outcome is this,” said the worker. 

According to numbers from the Worker Health and Work Safety Council, at least 44 workers have been killed in work accidents in the first seven days of 2017. A total of 1,970 workers were killed in 2016.

Accidents have beset Turkey’s mining industry in recent years, with 301 coal miners killed in Soma in May 2014, in the country’s worst ever mining disaster.  

In October 2014, 18 died in a flood at a coal mine in Ermenek in the Central Anatolian province of Karaman.

In November 2016, 16 workers were killed in a copper mine landslide in the Şirvan district of the southeastern province of Siirt.