Few More People Die in the Workplace

According to reports, a construction worker died in Tbilisi on March 15, 2017, after he fell into an elevator shaft. On March 21, 2017, another worker died at Batumi hospital, after he fell from a building that was under construction. The Public Defender expresses sorrow over these tragic incidents and offers condolences to the families of the victims. These facts once again prove that the state does not have an effective mechanism, which would provide safe work environment for those working in grave and dangerous conditions.

According to the official information provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 58 people were killed and 85 were injured in the workplace in 2016.

The Public Defender has repeatedly called on the Government and the Parliament to provide proper safety regulations and carry out strict monitoring of their implementation, which could minimize the number of casualties in the workplace, though the state has not taken any effective steps. The Public Defender considers that implementation of the mentioned recommendation would have prevented at least the part of casualties in the workplace. Although the number of those killed and injured in the workplace is increasing from year to year, the state does not take effective steps to prevent the tragic accidents and does not create an effective labour inspection mechanism.

The state reaction is limited only by bringing the responsible persons to justice after the tragedy takes place. The Ministry of Internal Affairs launched an investigation under article 240 of the Criminal Code with regard to the recent case, as it did in all other previous cases. This, of course, is not prevention, whereas preventive measures are necessary in order to achieve significant reduction in the number of such cases.

The abovementioned is not the responsibility of only construction companies. The Government has to share the responsibility as well. It is necessary to set up a labor inspectorate, a body that will supervise labour safety regulations, and to define sanctions for the violation of the regulations.

The Public Defender once again urges the Parliament and the Government to take all necessary measures to ensure safe working conditions in the country.

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