The silent massacre: 1,923 work-related deaths in Turkey in 2018

ISIG Council announced that at least 1,923 workers were killed in Turkey in 2018.

Occupational Health and Safety (ISIG) Council released its 2018 report on death on workplace.

The report stated that in 2018, a total of 1,923 workers lost their lives for work-related causes. Of these, 119 were women and 1,804 men who died in 81 provinces.

The report also underlined that a total of 67 children died, of whom 23 aged 14 years and under and 44 were between the ages of 15 and 17.

The report confirmed that many workers died for illnesses related to their work. “This is a proof that work-related illnesses in Turkey are rendered invisible. However, according to ILO and WHO data, while 1 death is a result accident at work, at least 6 are resulting from work-related illnesses.”

Breakdown by work sectors

The distribution of deaths by work sectors is listed as follows in the report:

457 workers in the agriculture-forest sector;

438 workers in the construction-road sector;

233 workers in the transport sector;

118 workers in trade, office, education and cinema;

114 workers in the metal industry;

88 workers in the municipality, general business;

66 workers in the mining industry;

63 workers in the energy sector;

47 workers in the hoteling and entertainment industry;

44 workers in the food, sugar industry;

42 workers in the defense, security sector;

36 workers in the Petrochemical, tire industry;

29 workers in health and social services;

28 workers in textile, leather industry;

21 workers in cement, soil and glass industry;

17 workers in the paper industry;

16 workers in ship, shipyard, sea, port industry;

6 workers in the communication industry;

3 workers in the bank, finance and insurance business;

4 workers in press, journalism."


The distribution of the work-related deaths according to causes:

"408 workers due to traffic, service accidents;

379 workers due to crush;

325 workers due to falling from height;

200 workers due to heart attack, brain hemorrhage;

113 workers due to electric shock;

112 workers due to violence;

82 workers due to poisoning, drowning;

73 workers due to suicide;

50 workers due to explosion, burning;

40 workers; due to fall, object crash; 

24 workers due to cut, breakage;

117 workers lost their lives for other causes.”

Distribution by age

The distribution of work-related deaths according to age groups in 2018 is as follows:

"23 children under 14 years of age,

44 children / young workers aged 15-17

285 workers aged 18-27,

944 workers aged 28-50,

371 workers aged 51-64,

98 workers aged 65 and over,

158 workers of unknown aged.”

110 refugee / migrant workers died in 2018.


In the report, the demands are listed as follows:

" *98 per cent of the dead workers were not members of trade unions. Thus, work without trade unions means death. Workers who are unionised in Turkey are fired. The State went further by prohibiting press releases made by the unions, meetings and strikes as well as the right to collective bargaining. On this point, the pressure on ISIG offices, employee representatives and trade union organization in general should end.

* Workplaces are made to work in an arbitrary manner other than job description. Working hours reach 10-12 hours per day. Overtime, allowance, etc. it is not paid. Slavery practices are implemented especially on subcontracted and outsourced labor. All subcontracting and outsourced labor practices, in both private and public sector, should be terminated.

* Bosses, bureaucrats and politicians who are responsible for work-related deaths are not persecuted. Again, the courts do not punish the responsible of work-related deaths, and the perpetrators are released after paying fines in up to 24 instalments. Bosses, bureaucrats and politicians responsible for work-related deaths should be prosecuted.

* The concealment of work-related illnesses should be abandoned and at this point, an approach that help our organisations in the management of health organizations should be implemented.

* The dependency of the labor inspectors working to ensure the supervision of the working life is prevented by the political power. It should be ensured that the Labor Inspection Board becomes an independent committee composed of social parties with the lead of the labor organizations.

* The minimum wage should be raised to an actual living level, dismissals should be terminated and unemployment should be prevented.

* Although 2018 was declared ‘the year to fight child labor’, 67 child workers died. On this point, 4 + 4 + 4 education system which meets the need of cheap labor should be terminated and child labor should be prohibited.

• Retirement age should be gradually determined to be 65 years of age.

* Each year 120-130 women are losing their lives. There is a need to define a worker health agreement for women.

* Protection of refugee / migrant workers who are deprived of basic rights should be ensured, such as working, health, housing, wages, etc.