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Occupational Safety and Health Week

International Labor Organization has declared 28 April World Day for Safety at Work with a decision taken in 2001. On the other hand, the week of 4-10 May has been celebrated as Occupational Safety and Health Week since 1987 in our country. These meaningful days and weeks are an opportunity to emphasize the importance and draw attention to the issue of Occupational Safety and Health.

Most widely understood and shortest definition of Occupational Safety and Health is; “all activities to prevent work related incidents and illnesses”. When we question why Occupational Safety and Health is an important factor; we can see that the topic is discussed under 3 main headings in many different resources. These are humanitarian-ethical reasons, legal reasons and economic reasons. In developed and even in developing countries, the legal and economic losses due to the subject in hand can be compensated by law and insurance systems to some extent. However, there is not a single example of a system that can deal with the humanitarian-ethical losses. That is why when emphasizing the importance of Occupational Safety and Health, it is the best to evaluate the topic in the humanitarian dimension.

Let’s begin by investigating the performance of Occupational Safety and Health in our country. The most common method to evaluate the performance of Occupational Safety and Health is to analyze numeric data. In this context, according to the latest announced official data in 2016 by the Social Security Institution (the 2017 official data has not been announced yet), almost 4 insured workers pass away due to an accident at work. I am not talking about the country economics and what the cost to the employers are or prolonged heavy legal processes. I am just saying that 4 lives who go to work every day do not come back.

If we look at the situation in the industry level; [1] in 2016, 239 of 1405 deaths by work accidents happened in building constructions. This means that Occupational Safety and Health should be taken more care of in the construction industry. When construction activities other than building constructions are taken into account, almost half of the deaths by accidents, in other words, 2 out of 4 lives that we lose every day happen in the construction industry or in a parallel industry. When we go back from 2016, it is also a fact that the Building-Construction industry has not given up the first place. In light of all these facts, it is abundantly clear that our country needs more Occupational Safety and Health regulations, especially in the Building-Construction industry.

If the look at the situation in the international level; [2] official numbers announced by International Labor Organization show that more than 2 million people every year lose their lives due to work related incidents and illnesses.

Numeric values, both national and international, alone can emphasize the importance of the humanitarian dimension of Occupational Health and Safety.

Despite all this bad picture, it is impossible to not be hopeful when looking at the developments made in our country and in the world. Increase in legal regulations, easier access to technical information with each passing day, power of the media, increase in health and safety awareness with educational activities can be regarded as pleasing even though it has not yet fully reflected in numerical data.

With technology increasingly replacing human power, organizations can be planned with the awareness that human health and safety is the most important element. Our biggest hope is that this change is to protect human life instead of profitability purposes.

With hopes that the topic is dealt with not only in the application stage, but also the design and the planning stage and that instead of legal or economical concerns, the motivation is to protect human life; we celebrate the Occupational Safety and Health Week of all employees.

 

1-2016 SGK Statistics:

http://www.sgk.gov.tr/wps/portal/sgk/tr/kurumsal/istatistik/sgk_istatistik_yilliklari

2-ILO Data:

http://www.ilo.org/ankara/news/WCMS_551794/lang--tr/index.htm

 

Murat Yılmaz, Civil Engineer, B Class HSE Expert, Entegre Project Management

Murat Yılmaz Health and Safety Mayıs 04, 2018 This article read 1891 times
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