Labour safety code violations have lead to an increase in workplace deaths and accidents in Georgia
In the early hours on 26 March a part of the Shukruti mine in the west Georgian city of Chiatura collapsed.
Fourty-five-year-old miner Zaza Abramishvili lost his life during the incident. His body was retrieved by rescuers after a six-hour search.
The Georgian Manganese company, which operates the Shukruti mine released a statement saying that the unfortunate incident took place at dawn. Preliminary information says that a part of the ceiling collapsed and one of the miners was cut off from the rest of the mine. The company will release detailed information pertaining to the event once the rescue workers have completed their work.
According to information from the trade union of metallurgists, chemists and miners, the area where the incident took place was very dangerous but the Georgian Manganese company still forced its employees to work there. They say that the Georgian Manganese company needs to clarify why the place was so poorly reinforced and why the team was working in such perilous conditions.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs has launched a criminal case according to Article 240 of the criminal code on industrial incidents that occur as a result of safety violations.
Over the past five years 270 people have died as a result of safety violations in Georgia, and over 1 000 have been injured. Various organisations and movements have demanded that the country’s labour code be revised. One requirement that the EU has of Georgia within the association agreement framework is to create a labour inspectorate.
The authorities do not deny the necessity of improving the labour codex but for various reasons the issue has been drawn out.