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Iran Workplace Incidents: Shadow of Death Over Iranian Workers

NCRI Staff

NCRI – There’s not a single day in Iran on which the news of workplace deaths or injuries is missing. Regime’s incompetence and inaction in this regard has caused Iran to hold world record and first place in workplace incidents.

Pointing to the issue, Revolutionary Guards’ Fars news agency quotes one of regime officials as acknowledging “aside from its family consequences, the death of each worker causes 7,500 man-hours to go to waste. The annual hidden costs of such incidents amount to 30 thousand billion tomans, and the increasing trend of such costs is quite worrying.”

Meanwhile, the workers injured in workplace accidents are also among the victims who are seriously and irreparably hurt due to unsafe working conditions. With no longer being able to work, such workers, most of whom being daily wagers, will suffer lots of losses, which in many cases lead to a total devastation of workers’ families.

Fearing the spread of social protests, the Iranian anti-worker regime refuses to release real workplace casualty figures, just like what it does about many other social phenomena, so that many workplace fatal incidents remain unheard of. But even these manipulatively reduced workplace casualty figures reveal a shocking reality about the working conditions and exploitation of workers in Iran under the rule of mullahs.

A brief look at some of such disastrous incidents over the past few days will best prove the point:

– Construction worker dead after being thrown off 9th floor/ two workers die due to being frozen in ammoniac tank. (State-run ILNA news agency, September 21, 2017)

– In two separate incidents, two construction workers lost their lives in Markazi province. (State-run ILNA news agency, September 18, 2017)

– Three cleaning workers died due to acid gas poisoning after entering a place where acidic liquids were held. The incident took place in an animal and poultry feed production factory located in the town of Hidaj, Abhar, Zanjan province. (State-run Borna news agency, September 19, 2017)

– Factory tank explosion left one dead and two injured. (State-run Mizan news agency, September 19, 2017)

– Fire and subsequent explosion of tank containing flammable material killed one in oilseed extraction plant. (State-run Mehr news agency, September 19, 2017)

– Carpet cleaning factory worker died after being electrocuted. (State-run Shakh-e-Shemiran website, September 19, 2017)

– According to head of country’s Emergency Organization, seven workers lost their lives due to a tunnel collapse somewhere between Shahr-e-Kord and Masjed-Soleiman. (State-run ILNA news agency, September 19, 2017)

– According to reports from Qazvin Steel Company, a worker has died due to electrocution. (State-run ILNA news agency, September 17, 2017)

These are only a fraction of disastrous workplace incidents over the past few years, showing the huge dimensions of such incidents.

The catastrophic increase in workplace accidents and the effect it has on public opinion forced the state-run ILNA news agency to acknowledge on 28 May 2012 that “while two workplace incidents with terrific dimensions have taken place over the past few months, no report on the causes of the incidents or how they could’ve been prevented has been released by fact-finding committees.”

“The first incident, taken place on May 3 this year, took lives of 44 workers. In the second incident, a smelting furnace explosion in Boyer Ahmad Steel Complex severely injured nine workers, three of whom later died due to severity of injuries and subsequent infections. Public opinion has not yet received a convincing explanation regarding the Yurt coalmine incident, with many missing points still remaining. Now with fact-finding committee investigations kicked off, it’s time to answer all these questions.”

In another instance, state-run ILNA news agency on September 19, 2017, quotes head of regime’s so-called Construction Workers Association as inevitably acknowledging that “the two significant figures, namely 1,200 deaths and 1,500 spinal cord injuries each year among construction workers, which only account for a fraction of 15,000 construction workers injured each year, doubles the need for seriously considering the group’s demand for regarding construction work as a hard, harmful job.”

Earlier, terrorist Quds Force’s Tasnim news agency pointed on September 1, 2017, to contradictory figures released by Tehran Legal Medicine Organization and regime’s Ministry of Labor, saying “while Deputy Labor Minister speaks of 13 percent decrease in workplace accidents last year, head of Tehran province’s Legal Medicine Organization ‘Masoud Ghadipasha’ announced on August 29, 2017, that more than half of fatal workplace accidents take place in construction sector, so that nearly 1,200 construction workers lost their lives in 2015.”

“According to Ghadipasha”, the news agency continues, “the figure increased by 30 percent in 2016, so that over the first six months of that year alone, more than 800 construction workers lost their lives in workplace accidents. Besides, there’s been a 34 percent increase in fatal workplace incidents in Tehran province compared to the same period last year.”

Also in this regard, state-run ISNA news agency has released a report titled “workplace deaths increased by 100 percent in Mazandaran province (northern Iran)”, quoting head of Mazandaran Legal Medicine as saying “number of deaths related to workplace incidents has increased by 100 percent in this year’s first four months compared to the same period last year, so that it has risen from 17 deaths in the first four months of last year to 34 this year.”

Also state-run Mehr news agency writes on June 26, 2017 “in the first nine months of last year, a total of 13,063 workers were injured due to workplace incidents, with Tehran province being the most subjected.”

It’s worth mentioning that despite high rate of casualties among workers, not only no support is offered to deprived, toiling workers, but millions of them are practically denied of their most basic rights, including social security, accidental death, immunity, and dismemberment insurances, and once such workplace incidents happen, the injured workers and their families receive no kind of financial support. That’s because most factories and workshops belong to regime officials, who only care about making more profits, while workers’ lives means nothing to them.

Safety helmets, shoes, belts, gloves and other protective equipments are considered as the most basic safety necessities, but such equipments are either worn-out and unusable or non-existing at all. Shortage or lack of such safety essentials in factories and workshops is one of the main causes of workplace accidents.

To prove the point, state-run ILNA news agency on May 28, 2017, reflects some of protests expressed by Boyer Ahmad Steel Complex workers following the complex’s smelting furnace explosion, saying “in their interviews with media, a number of workers complained about lack of safety officer during nightshifts, maintaining that the employer in the industrial unit did not provide them with helmets and suits suitable for working in a smelting workshop environment.”

We’ve also not forgotten that due to lack of heat sensors, despite their very low prices, more than 40 toiling workers lost their lives in security entities-owned Zemestan-Yurt coalmine.

To describe the extreme anti-worker conditions in the coalmine, state-run ISNA news agency is forced to acknowledge that “the mine lacked any kind of gas detection sensors, ventilation systems, or safety measures. Besides the tunnel was one-sided and the work area was closed.”

The fact, however, is that the main reason behind Iranian workers’ misery and death due to workplace accidents is existence of the thief, predator mullahs’ regime that cares about nothing but remaining in power, plundering more and more of people’s wealth, and continuously exploiting workers and other walks of life.