Q1 2024 figures

19 workplace deaths in Kurdistan Region last quarter

NEWSROOM — As Labour Day approaches, the statistics show a concerning workers fatality in Kurdistan Region. In the first quarter of 2024, 19 workers across the region have died in all workplaces due to various incidents, according to the latest figures released by the Kurdistan Construction Workers’ Organization.

According to the organization, the absence of fundamental workplace safety standards, lack of protective equipment and minimal safety training provided by their employers and companies are the main conditions of the workers’ fatalities.

The organization, which annually reports the number of fatalities at workplaces, detailed that these incidents occurred between January 1 and April 28, 2024. It shows 19 fatalities within the Kurdistan region and one in Kirkuk governorate.

In Sulaymaniyah, eight workers lost their lives, while nine deaths were reported in Erbil and two in Duhok. The causes of these fatalities varied; seven were due to electrocution, one from a collapse, five fell from heights, six were crushed under machinery, and one worker died from severe bleeding.

Additionally, just last night, a young worker fell from a building in Erbil during his shift, marking another worker’s death in the region since the beginning of the year. This particular event has not been included in the current statistics.

Bashdar Hassan, a lawyer who recently sat on a panel about workplace safety in the Kurdistan Region, previusly spoke to 964media about the inadequacies in the current legal framework. “Unfortunately, we still lack robust laws to protect workers in unwanted situations,” Hassan said. He highlighted that the prevailing law, Law No. 70 from 1987, is outdated and insufficient for modern requirements.

The lack of formal employment contracts often leaves workers and their families unable to claim their rights, according to Hassan. “To date, I haven’t heard of any case where a worker’s family successfully claimed rights from the employer after a workplace death through legal or judicial means,” he added.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Union has reported a total of 53 worker fatalities in 2023 in Kurdistan Region, with 39 local workers and 14 foreigners among the deceased. This figure marks a concerning increase from 2022 which saw 41 workers lost their lives in workplace incidents, including 31 local workers and 10 from outside the region.