Over 1,300 workers have been killed or injured in occupational accidents in Georgia over the past eight years, according to official statistics.
Data obtained from the Ministry of Internal Affairs shows that in 2010–2017, 359 people were killed and 984 injured in workplace accidents.
Parliament is currently discussing new labour legislation which could make health and safety rules for employers stricter.
The data shows that despite the re-establishment of the Labour Inspection Department in 2015, the number of casualties has been increasing.
Lina Ghvinianidze, head of local rights group the Human Rights Education and Monitoring Centre (EMC), told OC Media the department is ineffective, as it can only issues recommendations to companies and ‘depends on the goodwill of employers to allow labour inspectors at the workplace’.
The government has come under increased pressure from labour rights groups to pursue ‘more effective’ reforms. This includes allowing labour inspectors to inspect companies without their prior consent.
[Read on OC Media: Georgian parliamentary committee ‘approves higher fines’ for labour safety violations]
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, more than 550 criminal investigations were launched for violations of workplace safety rules in the last four years, but only a quarter of these were solved.
The ministry said they were unable to provide details of investigations prior to 2013 as previous statistics did not specify which articles of the criminal code were related to labour safety.
OC Media requested data on the number of workplace accidents and investigations into these cases since 2006 — the year labour inspections were abolished — but the ministry said they only processed data from 2010.