News : Human rights
- Published: Tuesday, 22 October 2019
In Iran, the rate of accidental deaths at work is six times as much as in developed countries, according to experts.
"Surveys from work-related accident rates show the United Kingdom, Germany and Finland have the lowest rate of fatalities, with 2 deaths per 100,000 people in these countries; While in Iran the rate is 12 per 100,000 people."
Forensic Medicine also said that the number of people who died in work-related accidents in the first three months of this year increased by 17.9 percent compared to last spring. (Forensic Medicine website, 29 July 2019)
Many work accidents in Iran are not announced by state media, and state statistic agencies are accused of minimizing negative statistics, thus experts believe the rate of work-related accidents is much higher.
The official statistics on deaths from accidents at work are those of workers subject to the labor law, but deaths from workers who are not subject to this law are excluded.
Construction workers and small workshop workers who number less than 10 at work are also not subject to the labor law, and their accident statistics are rarely recorded.
The number of construction workers in Iran is more than two million, so the number of accidents and casualties of these workers is the highest by the workers.
But this is not published by state media and is not reflected in the forensic reports of the Ministry of Labor and the Social Security Organization.
Rarely are cases of deaths due to toxic contamination reflected in the statistics of Iran’s state entities.
The death toll from hard and harmful works linked to contaminants and job illnesses is six times higher than physical accidents, which is not reflected in workplace accident reports. These are jobs that relate to non-standard physical, chemical, mechanical, and biological factors in the workplace, causing the person to have physical and psychological problems.
While many work-related fatalities are not accounted for, accidents resulting in deaths in Iran are still six times higher than those in developed countries.
During the first five months of 2019, some "583 people referred to forensic medicine departments due to work-related injuries," according to the official IRNA news agency. “During this time, 29 workers died as a result of work-related accidents.” (IRNA News Agency, 2 October 2019)
Five workers were injured in accidents in Hamadan, Tehran, and Sorkheh due to a lack of safety in the workplace on 29 August 2019.
The state-run Hamdeli newspaper admitted to this human tragedy and wrote that in Iran the "only record where workers come first" is in the number of work-related accidents. It added that annually 800 to 1000 construction workers die.
Acknowledging that the rights of construction workers are being violated, the newspaper quotes one of them: "Construction workers are forgotten and left behind. They are not recognized either by the employer or by labor law as independent workforces. Employers and project owners, since they know they are in dire need of financial help, have in many cases not even a humanitarian behavior, let alone providing them with safety facilities. ”(Hamdeli newspaper, 25 August 2019)
Because of a lack of job security, construction workers have to resort to the most severe forms of exploitation by government employers and do the hardest work in conditions that do not have the least safety and health at work, according to Iran watchers.
Regarding the insecurity of working conditions for industrial and manufacturing workshops, the state-run Jahan Sanat daily wrote: "Many workshops are in insecure conditions, and workers do not have proper working life security, but livelihood problems force the workers to live and work in these unsafe conditions or refuse to accept work in an unsafe environment without proper safety equipment. Lack of proper government oversight has led many employers to fail to provide workers with safety equipment.” (Jahan Sanat, 1 May 2019)
This is a situation where the gap between the poverty index and the income of workers has quadrupled; workers who are living in this situation, with a livelihood of more than 80 million rials, are actually living under the ‘death line’.
Experts say that in Iran, workers’ basic human rights are being violated, and government-affiliated employers exploit them and raise labor time with lower wages while imposing strange contracts on them.
Examples of such contracts are: "trial contracts", "one-person contracts", "traineeships contracts", "consultancy contracts", "charity workers" and "work desk rentals".
Regarding the imposition of these unique arrangements on the workers, an official at the Supreme Council of Labor said: "These things happen more in the oil and gas field".