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A worker died during construction works at a building site belonging to Georgia’s National University (SEU) in Tbilisi on 28 September.
According to Netgazeti, who broke the story, this was the first day on the job for the 30-year-old man. He reportedly had a 9-month-old child.
An investigation has been launched for violations of health and safety rules.
The university told OC Media that the incident was ‘a tragic accident’ and claimed health and safety rules were fully followed.
‘We would like to note that personnel were periodically instructed about labour safety norms, as we value the lives of all of our employees’, the university wrote in a statement.
According to data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 270 workers died and 776 were injured in 2011–2016 as a result of occupational accidents. According to them, in 2016, 58 people died and 85 were seriously injured as a result of occupational accidents.
This latest incident marks the 24th workplace death in 2017.
Labour Code reform
The number of fatalities and injuries from occupational accidents and abuses of labour rights has alarmed Georgia’s Public Defender and a number of civil society groups, including the Human Rights Education and Monitoring Centre (EMC) who say an effective labour inspection mechanism is needed.
The Public Defender launched a campaign in 2017 to encourage Parliament to amend the labour code and reform the labour inspection department, which cannot currently inspect workplaces without prior consent from employers and whose recommendations not legally binding.
On 12 May, after four miners died in a coal shaft in the industrial town of Tkibuli, the Ambassadorial Working Group of the United Nations in Georgia said in a statement that the incident, ‘leading to a loss of people’s lives, is yet another reminder of an urgent need to establish adequate health and safety procedures in the workplace including proper legislation and the establishment of labour inspection mandated in line with International Labour Standards’.
For more read on OC Media:
- Fatal workplace accidents show ‘need for labour inspection reform’
- When the state invests in labour exploitation [Opinion]