Workplace accidents skyrocketing in Turkey
AFP PhotoThe number of workplace accidents skyrocketed in 2013 by 291 percent from the previous year to 191,389, according to the Mechanical Engineers Unit (MMO) of Turkey’s Chamber of Architects and Engineers’ (TMMOB) latest work safety report, which is issued every two years.
The number of people who died in workplace accidents also rose by 83 percent in 2013 to 1,360 from 745 in 2012 and the figure was predicted to be around 1,886 in 2014, according to the figures, which were compiled by TMMOB from the official figures of the Social Security Institution (SGK).
“With the existing laws and regulations, the working situations are expected to get worse and more people will die due to the inefficient working conditions,” said the TMMOB in its report.
The TMMOB said the actual figures were much worse, as the number of unregistered workers was quite high in the country.
“The official figures for 2014 have not been announced yet, but a least 1,886 workers lost their lives due to workplace accidents and occupational diseases in 2014 according to the data from the Worker Health and Work Safety Assembly (İSGM),” added the report.
Turkey tops Europe in the number of workplace accidents per 100,000 workers according to Eurostat figures, said the report.
The most workplace accidents were seen in the metal products manufacturing sector with 15,699 accidents in 2013, followed by the building construction sector with 14,286 accidents and main metal industries with 12,601 accidents.
Around 20 percent of the workers who died in workplace accidents in 2013 were under 18 years old. The figures showed that eight of them were 16 years old, 11 of them were 17 years old and 28 of them were 18 years old. Some 163 workers were between the ages of 19 and 25, according to the figures.
Workers who had spent less than a year on the job saw the most fatalities, with 369.
The TMMOB said the report will be updated when the SGK announces the figures for 2014, but an improvement in workplace safety is not expected due to several poor regulations.
“The latest regulation makes it compulsory for workplaces with at least 50 workers to establish a workplace health and health safety unit, but some 32.6 percent of workplace accidents happen in workplaces where less than 50 people are employed. This shows the urgent need to decrease the minimum worker numbers for workplaces to establish such units,” said the report.
The TMMOB suggested the establishment of a national institute, with a majority of members coming from labor organizations, to regulate, check and balance workplace standards. The organization also suggested the removal of the subcontractor system and the spread of labor unions across the county in the report.