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Man dies at Tbilisi construction site

17 March 2017
Worker on a construction site in Tbilisi (OC Media)

A worker died at a construction site in Tbilisi’s Vake district on 15 March. Police confirmed to OC Media that an investigation is ongoing for violations of health and safety rules during the construction.

Tbilisi-based Liberali magazine reported that the man fell into an elevator shaft, but OC Media could not confirm the exact cause of the accident with the police.

Georgia has recently faced criticism from labour rights local activists for not implementing labour safety standards at workplaces. According to statistics provided to local rights group the Human Rights Education and Monitoring Centre (EMC) by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 58 people were killed and 85 injured at work in 2016, up from 42 and 82 in 2015.

Statistics show the number of people injured (in blue) and killed (in red) since 2011 to 2016 (MIA/EMC)

A Labour Inspection Department was created in 2015, following the adoption of a labour code in 2013, to supervise safety at workplaces. However, statistics show that the number of occupational injuries and deaths has increased since then. This suggests, activists say, that the current labour inspections have proven ineffective.

The current legislation has been criticised for its significant limitations: the  Labour Inspection Department cannot inspect workplaces without the prior consent of an employer and recommendations issued following an inspection are not mandatory for private companies.

EMC argues that the current mechanism does not effectively prevent occupational fatalities and fails to ensure safe working environment, which is the reason behind the increase in the number of fatalities. According to official statistics, 270 workers were killed and 776 injured in 2011–2016 as a result of occupational accidents.