347 workers died in occupational accidents in Turkey in first quarter

A total of 347 people died in workplace accidents in Turkey in the first quarter of this year, according to a report by the Health and Safety Labor Watch (İSİG), the Bianet news website reported.

The report stated that the most common causes of work-related deaths were traffic accidents, falling from heights, COVID-19, heart attack or brain hemorrhage, being crushed under heavy equipment, explosion or fire and poisoning. Sixty-three died in traffic accidents in the first quarter of this year, the İSİG report said.

According to the report, people who died in work-related accidents in the last three months included six minors and 25 women.

Eighteen workers killed were refugees or migrants from Syria (8), Afghanistan (2), Iran (2), Uzbekistan (2), Indonesia (1), Pakistan (1), Russia (1) and Serbia (1).

The city with the most frequent workplace fatalities was İstanbul with 60 deaths.

According to Ömer Fethi Gürer, a deputy from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), seasonal farm laborers have increasingly been the victims of fatal work-related accidents.

People have been suffering from lax work safety standards for decades in Turkey, where workplace accidents are nearly a daily occurrence. In the worst work-related accident in the country’s history, 301 miners died in an explosion in Manisa’s Soma district in May 2014.

The country ranked first in Europe in the number of fatal workplace accidents in 2018, with 1,541 work-related deaths, according to the European Statistical Office (Eurostat) and Turkey’s Social Security Institution (SGK) data.

A total of 28,380 people have died in workplace accidents in Turkey since the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002, according to an İSİG report released in November.

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