Bülent Sarıoğlu - Hürriyet / Istanbul, March 10 () - Almost 2 million people have been involved in a workplace accident over the last two decades in Turkey, Labor Minister Faruk Çelik has stated.
In a written response to a question filed by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Antalya deputy Gürkut Acar, Çelik said over 1.9 million workers were involved in workplace accidents between 1992 and 2013, leading to the deaths of 24,559 workers.
Turkey has been criticized for its poor workplace safety record and its failure to prevent workplace accidents, particularly in the wake of a series of mine accidents in recent years. Labor authorities are widely criticized for failing to conduct the necessary inspections and take precautions to protect the workers.
The number of former workers who have been entitled to a disability pension after accidents over the past 21 years is 46,358, Çelik also stated.
Between 2002 and 2013, around one million workers had workplace accidents. Some 13,510 workers were killed during the same period and 20,386 were disabled, according to the statement.
The number of people disabled at work was 1,976 in 2010, 2,093 in 2011, 2,036 in 2012, and 1,592 in 2013.
In 1994, 70,090 workers had accidents, the lowest figure in the recorded period. The highest figure was seen in 2013, when 191,247 workers had workplace accidents.
Some 1,444 workers were killed in 2010, 1,700 were killed in 2011, 744 were killed in 2012, and 1,356 were killed in 2013.
The numbers announced by Çelik included only those who work within the social security system and excluded those who are not registered in the system.
Meanwhile, workers who died in the long term due to risks and diseases caused by their occupation were also absent in the statistics.
CHP deputy Acar accused the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of failing to decrease workplace accidents and deaths.
“The AKP has introduced slavery in the workplace. It has remained just a dream for workers to have a job with social security rights under the AKP’s rule. A majority of workers are forced to work for the minimum wage and under subcontractors, without unions or workplace security. That’s why workplace accidents have turned into workplace murders,” said Acar.