A new report released by the Health and Safety Labour Watch (İSİG) reveals that 164 workers in Turkey lost their lives on the job in November 2021 alone. In the first eleven months of the year, at least 2017 workers lost their lives.
The most deadly industry for workers in November, by far, was construction, constituting at least 20% of deaths. At least three workers lost their lives in the construction of the Akkyuku Nuclear Power Plant in eastern Turkey. Workers there say they are subjected to abusive working conditions and that deaths and injuries are hidden from authorities.
The next deadliest industry was healthcare, with 17% of deaths in November, followed by trade, office work, and education, with 14% of deaths. Agriculture was also notably deadly in November - at least 10 workers and 7 farmers lost their lives doing agriculture or forestry.
The leading cause of death among workers in November was COVID-19. The majority of those that died from the disease were healthcare workers (26), followed by office and education workers (17), security workers (3), and municipal workers (3). The second most common cause of death was falling from a great height, which was most common among construction workers. Over half of construction workers died in this way.
The other half of the construction workers were killed by being crushed by falling, heavy objects.
Some 23 of those who died were women, versus 141 men. Seven of those 164 people were immigrants from Syria, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Russia.
These trends are more exaggerated on an annual scale. Of the 2017 people that died in the first 11 months of this year, 154 were women and 1863 were men. 83 of them were immigrants, and the rest were Turkish or Turkish citizens.
The majority of those who died were also comparatively young. Two of the workers who died in November were under the age of 14, while 20 were in the 18-27 age group. The largest number of people to die was in the 28-50 age group, with 81 deaths. Another 40 workers aged 51-64 died.
The geographic concentration of these deaths aligns almost directly with the concentration of population and industry. The city with the largest number of deaths was Istanbul, with 13 deaths, followed by Kocaeli with 11. Eight people died in Ankara and Bursa, respectively, while 7 died in both Antalya and Izmir.
The deadliest months of this year were April (258 deaths) and May (239 deaths) when COVID-19 lockdowns excluding construction were imposed in the country.