Workplace deaths – or, what could be referred to as workplace murders in many instances due to negligence on the part of the officials and authority figures – have grown in Turkey at a dramatic rate over the course of the years.
With the highest number of occupational fatalities in Europe and third in the world, Turkey’s workplaces have become extremely dangerous, lacking sufficient and efficient security measures.
In 2016, 1970 working individuals lost their lives at their workplaces. Of this record high number of deaths at workplaces in Turkey, 56 of them were children, 110 were women, and 96 were immigrants.
According to the data released by Turkey’s civil society institution İSİG (Organization for Workers’ Health and Safety), 1682 people who lost their lives at workplaces last year were either laborers or civil servants and 288 were either farmers or tradesmen.
Most of these occupational fatalities occurred in the sectors of construction (442), agriculture (389), and transportation (265), all of which are also the very sectors with the least union-based organization but with the highest rate of unsafe conditions.
Other fields where workers lost their lives at workplaces were commercial office jobs (124), municipality position (109), steel industry (96), and mining (73).
İstanbul was the city where most workplace deaths (262) took place in Turkey last year. It was followed by Kocaeli (89), Bursa (81), İzmir (72), Ankara (70), and Antalya (70), which are all major cities of the country.
Another interesting data shared by the institution revealed that death rates at workplaces increased by 9% after the declaration of state of emergency in Turkey last year in July.
In the latest report of the institution, necessary precautions to take against these ‘preventable deaths’ were listed as 1) for workers to be a member of a union which would inform them more thoroughly about work safety and their rights; 2) for employers to create ‘safety councils’ within their institutions in order to inform and train workers effectively; 3) for unregistered positions to be eliminated; 4) for those employers who are responsible for such fatalities to be tried and punished in a way that would stand as a deterrent.
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