A matter of life and death - ALI BAYRAMOĞLU

A matter of life and death

Work accidents are haunting our country like a dreadful nightmare. It hasn''t even been a year since the horrible accident took place in Soma. A few days ago, an indescribably terrible accident took place in a luxurious apartment construction in Istanbul. Eleven workers lost their life.

The new Turkey is showing itself as it emerges in political life; many terms and claims have been changing, stepping into a new age, economic revolution.

These claims neither reject the scary picture about the "cheapness" of human life nor does the term confirm the so-called claims.

The Anadolu Agency reports:

"In the construction sector, where the employment budget reached 2 million, the work accidents that occurred in the last 5 years reached 35.846. In these accidents, 1754 workers lost their lives and 1940 were injured. According to the data of the Turkish Statistical Institute, almost 10 percent of the work accidents take place in the construction work branch and 5 percent of all these accidents result in death. Almost 30 percent of fatal work accidents happen in the construction work branch.

We come in at the first rank of Europe in work accidents and the 10th in the world rank. If we want to measure yesterday and today, here and there, development and the respect for humanity, this is the criteria.

Human life is the most precious criteria, in fact. On the other hand, the tragedy of the real picture is chronic and consistent.

In the years 1946-2010, in total 59, 300 people lost their lives in work accidents. On average, this equals to 880 people every year.

From 2001-2011, in total in 735,000 work accidents, 10,804 workers lost their lives. 14,665 workers became permanently disabled.

There are the registered figures.

As a matter of fact, according to the research conducted by TUIK (Turkish Statistical Institute), in the work accidents seen in the household labor survey and health problems on account of work accidents, in three percent of employees, the 10 percent of the employees in the mining sector state that at least once in 12 months they went through an accident.

After mining, with 7.7% of work accidents related to electricity comes, and then the gas and water sector. Manufacturing shares 5.2% and is in the third rank. Construction gets 4.6% and transportation takes its fifth rank with 3.7%.

The glass was filled up to the brim and in fact, it overflowed. The construction business in Istanbul causing the provocation of the street protests and others and the social reaction is not surprising.

Those responsible for this fault are the whole system from the government to the authority, employers to the judiciary.

Insel accurately made this remark: "The company authorities pay the fine and some amount of compensation to the families of the injured or give money in a secretive way in order not to become sued by them. Hence, they get away with it. In most cases, with the support of the expert"s opinion and the employer"s mouthpiece union representative"s witnessing and support, the guilt for the negligence in the death is accounted for." As of January 1, 2014, it is a requirement to have a work safety expert in the work place.

On the other hand, according to the figures of the directorate of occupational health and safety, among the 630,000 work places, only 25% abide by this requirement.

The chair of the directorate, Leven Kavlak"s words must be paid attention to well: "There are between 7000-8000 work safety experts among 20,000 in the work places which we rate as "very dangerous" or "dangerous", because employers are still unaware of the seriousness of the issue. If you consider the work accidents with their destructive ends, such as a warfare result where many people lose their lives or the employers facing off the judiciary, or the presence of safety experts, injured employees, orphaned kids, these are all wounds. The employer considers it as an economic burden."

The NGOs must try to consolidate society in order to solve this issue. The parliament, institutions, the government should take this into account as the main human safety topic, and even so, a kind of threat. Otherwise, what is the meaning of "progress"?

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