The Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Dr. Fazıl Küçük Faculty of Medicine continues to inform the community about matters of public health whilst providing answers to commonly asked questions. EMU Dr. Fazıl Küçük Faculty of Medicine academic staff member Asst. Prof. Dr. Levent Eker recently released a statement on “Occupational Safety and Health Week” which takes place between the 4th and 10th of May every year with the goal of raising awareness. Asst. Prof. Dr. Eker highlighted that “Worker Health and Safety” includes a range of activities and measures that aim to protect against and minimize occupational hazards.
Work Accident Rates
Indicating that work related accidents and diseases have negative effects on human beings and also the economy. Asst. Prof. Dr. Eker stated: “We see this as a problem on a global level. International Labour Organization data indicates that more than 3.2 million people lose their lives each year as a result of work related accidents or diseases. Every year there are 160 million new cases of occupational diseases and 300 million non-deadly work accidents. According to Social Security Institution data there has been a significant decrease in the work accident rates of Turkey over the last 40 years. However, this rate is still high when compared with other developed countries. “Occupational Safety and Health Week” activities are organized to encourage the establishment of safe and healthy working environments via public education that increases awareness.”
Asst. Prof. Dr. Eker also drew attention to the fact that governments are making legislative regulations in order to not leave precautions taken to protect employers from risks to the initiative of employers: “The liability of employers and the rights and obligations of workers have been arranged by the 6331 numbered “Occupational Health and Safety Act” which took effect in 2012 in Turkey and the “Work Health and Safety Act” which entered into effect in 2008 in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. When we look at work accidents, 2014 International Labour Organization data indicates that nearly half of the accidents (44.7%) take place during production, manufacturing, processing and storage activities. Approximately 1 out of 10 accidents take place during excavation, construction, repair and demolition activities. Injuries in work accidents are most common in the arms, legs and head region. 38.7% percent of injuries are arm injuries and 1 out of 5 are leg injuries.”
Drawing attention to occupational diseases which are just as important as work accidents, Asst. Prof. Dr. Eker stated the following: “Occupational diseases can be physical or mental. They are diseases that stem from something that is repeated at the workplace or workplace conditions. Occupational diseases are below the anticipated rate in Turkey. It is clear that there is lack in data. When we look at global rates of occupational diseases we see that they are present in 4-12 of 1000 workers. According to 2014 International Labour Organization data occupational diseases are only seen in 00.4 out of 1000 workers in Turkey. Most occupational diseases are seen in men. In 2014, 470 out of 494 cases were seen in men and only 24 in women. The two most common types of occupational diseases are dust related pneumoconiosis and noise related loss of hearing. The primary form of protection from occupational diseases is periodical health checks that begin upon entry. In addition workers and employers must be educated on protective measures, workers must be encouraged to use personal protection and environmental regulation must be carried out.”