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Industrial Homicides in Turkey


In Turkey there are 80 work accidents occurring per hour. Annually 706,000 workers experience such accidents (TÜİK 2013). Of 10 work accidents, only one is registered in SGK (Social Security Institution) records. Indeed, while the most recent SGK statistics give the number of work accidents for 2012 as only 74,871, it is as high as 706,000 in TÜİK’s (Statistics Institution of Turkey) data (SGK 2012, TÜİK 2013). Even reserving for the difference in reference years, this situation reveals how high the number of unrecorded work accidents is.

The number of work accidents according to TÜİK data is 9.5 times higher than that of SGK data. According to the same data, of 100 recorder work accidents one is fatal. When this rate is applied to TÜİK data it can be concluded that about 7,000 workers died in Industrial Homicides taking place in 2002. Accordingly, each day 20 workers die and 1 worker loses his/her life hourly.  While the number of average recorded Industrial Homicides were 898 in the period 2002-2005, there is increase by one-third making the total number of workers killed 1,223 in the period 2006-2012. This means there is one more addition to each 3 recorded murders (TBMM (Turkish Grand National Assembly) 2012, SGK 2012).

It is reported that 11,282 workers lost their lives during the period of AKP governments; however, considering the weight of unrecorded-unregistered deaths, it is not extreme to talk about tens of thousands!

895,000 is the number of persons suffering occupational health problems. 80 per cent of workers are exposed to factors negatively affecting their physical health while 9 per cent are open to other factors affecting physiological health negatively. 19 per cent face imminent risk of accident while 14 per cent are exposed to chemicals, dust, fumes and harmful gasses. 15 per cent are troubled by difficult body positioning and movements. 7 out of every 100 workers experience psychological problems under the pressure of time and heavy work burden (TÜİK 2013).

In the period 2012-2013, there were 299,000 workers injured as badly as having to take work-leave for 3 days or longer. 162,000 workers had to do the same for their occupational diseases (TÜİK 2013).

There is also increase in the number of persons who think they cannot return to their work after an accident/health problem; only within a single year, increase in these numbers was 9,000 for those suffering work accidents and 117,000 for other having health problems.  Yet, the number of people who can enjoy SGK benefits after becoming incapable to work is only 62,000 (TÜİK 2013, SGK 2012).

Miners are at the top of the list as victims of work accidents and occupational diseases. Out of 10 miners, one experiences a work accident during a year and on out of 20 workers contracts an occupational disease (TÜİK 2013).


The situation is even more troublesome in the mining sector that frequently comes to the fore with Industrial Homicides. According to TÜİK data, there are 113,000 workers in the sector in 2012. In SGK data, on the other hand, the number of wage workers employed by the public sector is given as 16,000. In 2009, the number of sub-contracted workers in mining enterprises is given as 8,749. Given the increase in the number of sub-contracted workers in enterprises attached to the Ministry, this type of employment is quite common (SGK 2012, TÜİK 2012, TBMM 2009).

There are 766 sub-contracted workers in Turkish Anthracite Enterprises, 1,305 in Eti Mining enterprises and 6,678 in Turkish Coal Enterprises Institution (TBMM 2009). The number of permanent workers in Turkish Coal Enterprises Institution is given as 4,575 for 2012 (TKİK 2013, s.54). Thus, employing sub-contracted workers is becoming a routine in this sector. It is the sector where Industrial Homicides occur most frequently.

Mines, Sub-contracting and Industrial Homicides

The report of the State Supervisory Board (DDK) on mine accidents draws attention to mines transferred to private companies and practices of sub-contracting and gives information about Industrial Homicides. According to the report “about 28 mines which were earlier run by the TTK or not found profitable were transferred to private companies through royalty tenders. Besides these, quartz sand and bauxite mines (in 32 areas) were transferred to private enterprises through the same method. According to Zonguldak Chamber of Commerce and ındustry, the number of workers employed by private companies and sub-contractors was 4,770 (of whom 71 are Chinese) as of 30 June 2010. (DDK 2011:203).

Other than the TTK and its sub-contractors engaged in anthracite production, the activity of private companies in this area started first at the end of 2000. It is observed that the number of casualties per million tons of coal is higher in private companies. Starting from 2005, there was a marked increase in output by private mining companies. There was a jump in 2003 in the number of casualties in privately run mines. According to the report the number of deaths doubled this this compared to 2002 (Table1)  (DDK 2011:204) .

The report states, according to inspections, that work safety and health measures and services are yet not well established in privately operated mines and that no satisfactory measures exist for avoiding such risks as marsh gas and collapse. The report also draws attention to the fact that inside allocated areas there are also some small and informally operated mines employing small teams of 5 to 10 miners (DDK 2011:204).

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