Çelik, in an interview with Sabah daily yesterday, recalled that five shipyards in Tuzla, the site of numerous work-related fatalities in recent years, have recently been shut down for violation of occupational safety measures following ministry inspections, and added, "If they do not fulfill their responsibilities, we may close down the remaining 44 shipyards, too."
Çelik underlined that the number of shipyards in Turkey had increased to 76 from 37 in about six years. "There is a great surge in this sector in our country. We believe that this trend will continue in the years ahead. Unfortunately, there is also an increase in the number of workers at shipyards who lose their lives due to work accidents. According to our ministry reports, 25 workers died at shipyards in the last few years," he said.
The number of deaths at shipyards in Tuzla has increased to 18 in the last seven months, most recently with the deaths of two more workers who lost their lives due to accidents at different shipyards in late February. There have been more than 50 fatal accidents in the district in the last seven years, largely due to electric shocks and falls from platforms.
Stressing that shipbuilding is a promising sector for Turkey, Çelik said heavy responsibility falls not only on the shoulders of shipyard owners but also on the state to improve conditions in this sector.
"We shouldn't neglect workers' safety and health. Otherwise, no matter how successful we become in this sector, it will mean earning money thanks to workers' deaths. We are all responsible for providing safe working conditions for laborers at shipyards," noted Çelik.
He also said he inspected two shipyards in Tuzla the week he was appointed labor minister. "I didn't detect any violation of safety measures during my inspections. But I didn't have a chance to inspect the other 42 shipyards. However we will continue our inspections, and we'll exert our utmost efforts to provide safe working conditions for workers there," he added.
Last Mod: 04 Mart 2008, 14:45