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State without genuine labour inspection

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, October 26
Last week there were several cases in which people were injured or died at the workplace.

“The reality that people are injured or killed on an almost daily basis in the workplace is alarming,” Georgia’s Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili says.

Last week, the media reported the death of two peeople employed in construction.

Earlier on October 11, the Public Defender responded to the death of a miner in Tkibuli’s Mindeli mine.

Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs says about 123 people died or were injured in the workplace in 2015.

“This situation indicates that the non-observance of labour safety is the most acute problem in the country and employees suffer serious bodily injuries or are killed in the workplace at least once in 2-3 days,” Nanuashvili says.

The Ombudsman added that only “an extremely small number of cases” are covered by the media, meaning that the public is not informed of the majority of such cases.

The Public Defender stressed that it must be clearly said that the state is accounted for the abovementioned cases, since no clear and modern labour safety standards have yet been adopted, and no labor inspectorate has been created, which would supervise their implementation in practice.

“The Public Defender has been demanding the creation of a labour inspectorate for years, but the recommendation has not been fulfilled so far. The state is actually waiting for the cases when people are harmed or killed and only after that it responds within the criminal legislation,” Nanuashvili said.

He emphasised that investigations do not always end with proper results, saying that in 2015, criminal investigations were launched into 108 cases, but were soon terminated in 42 cases.

“The number of terminated investigations might be higher today, as more time has passed since the mentioned cases. The state's actions that are not effective cannot be considered sufficient leverage for the prevention of future accidents,” the Ombudsman stated.

The state is obliged to protect the lives and health of employees and for this purpose to immediately create minimal mechanisms, and labour inspectorate and introduce modern standards of labour safety.

It is hard not to agree with the Ombudsman, as hundreds of lives are at risk, the lives of those working on construction sites, or even walking past them.

Georgia urgently needs labour inspections, as the rights of employees are being continually violated in the country.

Employees are very often silent to labour violations, as the unemployment rate is very high and they are afraid to lose even the minimal salaries they receive from their employers by provoking their ire.