At least 166 workers killed in workplace accidents across Turkey in May

At least 166 workers died in workplace accidents across Turkey in May, according to a monthly study released by a nongovernmental organization focused on worker health and safety issues, bringing the number of workplace deaths in Turkey in the first five months of 2018 to 754.

According to data compiled by the Workers Health and Work Safety Assembly (İSİGM), 14 child workers, including five of whom were under the age of 14, lost their lives at work. Of the workers who died in May, 10 were female and 156 were male. Six refugee/migrant workers also lost their lives in May, five of whom were from Syria and one from Hungary.

İSİGM is an NGO comprising workers, workers’ relatives, doctors, engineers, academics, journalists and lawyers who deal with labor issues.

Workplace fatalities occurred in 46 cities in Turkey in May, with the highest number occurring in İstanbul, Manisa, Balıkesir, Ankara, Antalya, Bursa, Gaziantep, Kocaeli and Samsun.

According to the İSİGM, only two of the workers (1,21 percent) were union members, whereas 164 (98,79 percent) had no union affiliation. The union members who died in workplace accidents were working in the fields of chemicals and security.

On Jan. 6, 2018 the İSİGM published a report saying that 2,006 workers died at work throughout 2017. That number marked an increase from 2016, when 1,970 workers were killed in Turkey. According to the İSİGM, five workers were killed every 24 hours last year. Of the 2,006 workers who were killed on the job in 2017, 116 were women.

On Feb. 14, 2018 Turkey’s Labor Ministry announced that 27 workers have been killed in the construction of İstanbul’s third airport since it began in May 2015. That announcement came only after unconfirmed reports that 400 workers have been killed so far in work accidents at the multi-billion dollar project’s site, operated by the İstanbul Grand Airport (IGA).

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