Industrialization and technological advents cause occupational accidents and environmental risks prompting a great number of socio-economical losses. According to the studies, of all risks prompting occupational accidents, 98 percent is foreseeable and eradicable, therefore, to stop these losses is the primary duty of governments, employers and employees. According to WHO, globally, more than 80% of 3 billion employees lack occupational health services. Though it’s not reasonable to compare to save a man’s life, occupational accidents also cause highly significant economical expenditures. And again according to WHO, the cost of occupational accidents and diseases accounts for about 5% of global gross revenue. Between the years 1998 and 2004, the incidence of occupational accidents in EU-25 and the incidence of accidents involving death decreased 21% and 24%, respectively. According to formal figures of Eurostat, 129.8 million working days was lost in all EU member countries owing to occupational accidents in 2003. This figure means the loss of 88.056 working days for 100.000 employed workers and the loss of 19 working days per each accident. For all EU member countries, it’s supposed that working day loss exceeds 150 million days and total insurance spending on occupational accidents is beyond 20 billion euros. Globally, the rate of occupational accidents and diseases is 44% and 56%, respectively, whereas the same rate is respectively 99% and 1% in our country. The mine disaster in Soma and the lift accident in Istanbul experienced in 2014 has brought occupational safety regulations into question. There have been some legal regulations to provide occupational safety. However, these regulations are not strictly enforced and followed in working environments, thus, many individuals die of or are injured by occupational accidents. Most of these individuals are young. The fact that young people, most of whom lack formal working conditions, working to continue their education died in the lift accident in Istanbul saddens us, so does it most of Turkish people.
Our objective as the Development and Innovation Office is to support our country’s development by launching creative projects aiming to boost sustainable developments. These developments shall be anthropocentric in all areas. Turkey, though it’s ranking 17th in the list of the biggest economies of the world, takes a back seat when it comes to workers’ health and safety. Therefore, at this point, it’s difficult to mention development efforts are anthropocentric. The source of the project is the contradiction between great economy and low worker safety. As students, youth and unemployed individuals of today, we are to be employees, governors and policy makers of our country in the future. As young people who want to improve their own future, we’d like to underline an anthropocentric development perspective. As a result, we’re planning to take over responsibility and to have a say in issues regarding our own interests and the interests of our country, to share our opinions with decision makers and thus we aim to create changes and developments. With the project, we aimed to draw attention to occupational safety and by telling how challenging difficulties it caused, we had better chances to share our solutions with the public. The project kindly offered individuals to be active citizens by meeting young individuals and decision makers in accordance with the key elements of structured dialogue, by showing a total approach to solve social problems and by making people take proper steps to develop their society. 95% of all participants of the project were 18-25 aged who still hold the lead in several occupational accidents. There are hundreds of young workers without any health insurance. Turkey ranks 3rd in the world in the incidence of occupational accidents and thousands of young workers without health insurance beat the risk. As future’s workers, authorities and employers, it’s vital that these young worker shall be informed and take over responsibility and stimulate related decision makers. At this point, the word “vital” seems highly meaningful in our country where thousands of people die of occupational accidents. Half of all country-wide participants of the project had social disadvantages. The group of participants include individuals who are unemployed, who are employed without health insurance, who had previous work experience, who or whose friends/family members had personally experienced occupational accidents and all participants voluntarily participated in the project. Based on all these elements, the project named “The 21st Century and Occupational Accidents: What are young workers thinking of?” was realized as a project that includes youth and offers solutions regarding workers’ health and safety that cause death of thousands of individuals annually and that contradict with the increase in so-called developments in the 21st century.
- To support participants’ communicational skills, meeting and conversational lessons, ice breakers and team group studies were performed.
- As the representative of The Union of Work Safety Experts, the specialist in work safety, Mr. Alp Güller presented a comparative analysis by explaining occupational accidents and diseases globally.
- After the sessions, with young participants, “Problem Analysis Workshop” studies were maintained. Participants were separated into groups and worked on analyses listing their conclusions.
- Workshop studies named “If there’s a problem, there’s also a solution” were performed to propose opinions regarding the problems.
- During the forum realized by SGK, Bursa Provincial Directorate, Mr. İsmail Arıkan, the participants were informed about the working conditions of young population, informal and uninsured employment and the problems encountered after an occupational accident.
- A drama themed by occupational accidents and young workers was realized.
- An informative session was realized and the participants were informed regarding Erasmus and youth programs.
Oya Bumin, a specialist in National Youth Program Agency in Turkey, met and informed the participants about programs.