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Accidents at Work in Turkey

This guide was written by Başak Yıldız Orkun, Managing Partner at Orkun & Orkun (info@orkunorkun.com) in collaboration with Guides.Global (office@guides.global).

It was written on 12 July 2017. The law and practice in Turkey change all the time. Our guides are updated as frequently as possible - typically every three years - but may be out of date.

Our guides are prepared by professionals from many countries. They are, of necessity, both brief and general and can take no account of your personal circumstances. They are intended to be a good introduction to the subject BUT ARE NO SUBSTITUTE FOR PROPER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE, which our contributors will usually be happy to provide upon request.

The advice and opinions contained in the guides are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Guides.Global.

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The scope of this guide

This guide is about work accidents in Turkey. It covers the accident you should take after being involved in an accident - both immediately and later on. It tells you about your legal rights and responsibilities, whether you're an employer or an employee.

Introduction

If you are an employee suffering an accident at work, there are three main things for you to bear in mind:

  1. The legal requirements
  2. The requirements of your employer
  3. Looking after your own interests

If you are an employer whose employee suffers an accident at work in Turkey, you only need to worry about the first and third of these categories.

The legal requirements

Although certain aspects of health and safety seem not to be pursued with great vigour in Turkey, there are very strict legal requirements as to what you must do following an accident at work.

An accident at work is any accident in which you suffer any injury, however small. If you stab yourself with a paperclip and a drop of blood oozes from your fingertip that is, legally speaking, an accident at work and you must follow all the rules by reporting it etc. In practise, for trivial injuries of that kind, most people will, very sensibly, take no action.

However, you don't need to go much further up the severity scale before you really ought to report - and there are many who would argue that every accident ought to be reported. What happens if your paperclip has been contaminated and you are taken seriously ill? Apply common sense but err on the side of caution. It is in both the employer's and the employee's best interests to do so.

Your employer is under a legal obligation to notify the police about the accident (immediately) and the Social Security Department (within three days). This is because, in Turkey, it is the Social Security Department that makes payments to people injured in accidents at work.

These obligations extend to any accident as a result of which there could be a claim for either physical or mental damage. Whether this is the case is a matter for the judgement of the employer.

The report can be made over the internet.

In deciding whether to report, the employer may well be influenced by the fact that there is a fine of TRY2,500 for nor reporting any accident that should have been reported and, perhaps more importantly, because if the employer does not report the accident, the Social Security Department will recover all payments they make as a result of the accident from the employer.

In many countries, there is a requirement for employers to maintain a written record of all accidents that occur on their premises. This can sometimes be in the form of a physical accident book and sometimes can be in the form of a digital record. There is no such legal requirement in Turkey but some employers – especially the larger ones – do have an internal requirement for reporting accidents suffered at work.

The employer's requirements

These will vary from employer to employer.

In the case of larger companies where there is a first aid facility it is often a requirement of the employer that is you suffer an accident at work - however small - you must report for treatment.

You should be told about the employer's requirements in the case of accidents at work when you are first employed by the company.

Looking after your own interests

If you suffer an accident at work in which you suffer any sort of injury, you should see a lawyer as soon as possible. Prompt action is most likely to be successful and easier (and so cheaper) than action taken months after the event.

Claiming compensation

If you suffer an accident at work and it causes you any injury or to have to take time off work you are likely to want to claim compensation from your employer. The law requires all employers to have insurance against accidents at work.

If you do suffer an accident at work and wish to claim compensation you will need to see a lawyer. You should make sure that the lawyer has experience of dealing with accidents at work. Even in Turkey, where most lawyers cover quite a large range of areas of legal practice, there are some who do not deal with accidents at work.

The claim that you make will be a civil claim. There could also be a criminal liability in certain cases.

The civil claim is made via the specialist employment court. These courts exist in larger towns. If there is no employment court in your area, the claim will be made via the ordinary civil court; but the judge in that court will act as if it was an employment court and follow its procedures.

Taking time off work

If you suffer an accident at work you may need to take time off.

Your employer cannot fire you if you take time off work because of an accident.

Normally, your doctor will advise you for how long you should stay off work and the doctor's opinion will be respected.

If you take time off because of an accident at work, unlike in most countries, it is not the employer who must pay you for the period when you’re not working. These payments are made by the Social Security Department. 

The amount of time you have to take off work will also be a factor in the amount of any compensation you receive for the accident.

Conclusion

As with any accident, prompt action is important after an industrial incident. It's always better to be safe than sorry, so if you think your injury may require recording, just go for it.

Other guides of interest

 Description Link 
Turkey Country Guide
Essential facts and figures about Turkey
Click to see this guide
Accidents on the Road in Turkey
What happens if you get in a traffic accident in Turkey
Click to see this guide
Dealing with an Accident in Turkey
The general process of dealing with an accident
Click to see this guide
Accidents Due to Defective Premises in Turkey
What happens if you have an accident due to dodgy buildings in Turkey
Click to see this guide

Readers' Comments

 

Further information?

I hope you have found this guide useful. If you need any further help, please contact me.

Başak Yıldız Orkun

12 July 2017


 

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