Istanbul, May 4 () - At least 139 workers died as a result of workplace hazards in March 2015, with the total death toll exceeding 351 over the first quarter of 2015, according to a report by the Turkey-based Workplace Health and Safety Assembly.
The assembly listed traffic accidents, injuries sustained in crushing incidents, falls, suffocation and poisoning as the most common occupational incidents leading to workers’ deaths.
The report underlined that while many companies failed to provide health and safety at work, the state was responsible as well due to negligence.
“While employers neglect to ensure workplace safety on the pretext that the necessary precautions would raise costs, the state is also failing to fulfill its duty to inspect these establishments” the report read.
Among the 139 workers who died in March 2015, four were child laborers.
“Four child laborers died this month but neither their names nor precise ages were made public” the report said, noting that the children were seasonal agricultural workers of Syrian origin.
In addition to the four children, a total of 16 migrant workers were killed in March 2015, raising the death toll for migrant laborers since the beginning of 2015 to 25.
In terms of their lines of work, over 65 percent of the deceased laborers worked in agriculture, construction and transportation, with 41, 35 and 17 workers losing their lives in those fields, respectively.
While drawing attention to the failure of the state and companies in ensuring workplace safety, the assembly also stressed the shortcomings of labor organizations.
“The fact that workplace deaths increase each year demonstrates that labor organizations are not taking concrete steps in the fight to ensure safety at work. Instead of perceiving the issue as primarily related to education, unions should aim for greater organization and work to intensify workers’ demands for workplace safety” the report said.