The FINANCIAL — According to the Georgian Trade Unions’ Confederation (GTUC), 138 fatal accidents were reported in the workplace, with over 150 life threatening injuries occurring during the last four years.
A preliminary total of 21 fatal work injuries were recorded in 2010 only, throughout Georgia. The figures were attained by GTUC from local media, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the local populations in the regions.
Most of the deadly injuries were incurred in the construction industry and fire fighting. Electricians and plumbers were also frequent victims of fatal occupational injuries.
As The FINANCIAL was told by GTUC the situation is terrible in many workplaces and a special service needs to be created which will monitor such cases, give firms necessary safety information at work and impose relevant measures where needed.
“We have been collecting information about fatal accidents at work since 2006 while before that there was a special office called the Georgian State Inspection for Technical Supervision, established in cooperation with Int. Labour Organization (ILO) in 1996 but later abolished in 2006 by the Georgian Government due to corruption charges. The abovementioned inspection with 50 employees was responsible for the compensation of such fatal accidents as well as investigation of the causes.
Since 2006 we took the responsibility on ourselves to gather information about such cases with the help of local media and residents. Most of the victims’ families remain uncompensated today. According to the new rules regarding compensation, the victim’s family has to hire a lawyer in order to defend against the employer in trial.
Last month, the deadliest recent accident occurred in Tkibuli when methane exploded and 4 people died, in addition 6 others were affected by that explosion,” said Viqtor Dolidze, GTUC’s Major Technical Inspector of Labour issues.
By ILO’s reporting there were 162 fatal accidents in 2003, 419 deaths caused by dangerous substances and work related mortality amounted to 1,414 in Georgia.
ILO estimates that some 2.3 million women and men around the world succumb to work-related accidents or diseases every year; this corresponds to over 6,000 deaths every single day. Worldwide, there are around 340 million occupational accidents and 160 million victims of work-related illnesses annually. ILO updates these estimates at intervals, and the updates indicate an increase of accidents and ill health.
Despite such a high number of deaths in the workplace people still avoid life insurance claiming it to be too expensive.
As The FINANCIAL was told by the Georgian Insurance Institute, which has done various research about people’s attitudes concerning insurance companies, the main problem is a lack of knowledge/experience and tradition with insurance.
“Generally speaking, people do lack knowledge about insurance products especially that of life insurance. The population is inert and indifferent to it. They fear that they will not get the premium in the long run. Some of them are even unable to differentiate between it and bank deposits.
In addition the product itself, life insurance, is expensive but it’s hard to say exactly what it costs due to the fact that it depends on age, pay system, and longevity of the contract.
As for the employer’s side there is the problem with inconsistence between tax code and the type of insurance (i.e. life insurance premium is taxed with income tax). Also there’s a problem with the retail segment of insurance companies.
In Georgia life insurance is mainly developed through cooperation with banks and their demand. If a person gets credit and then dies in such an accident, the amount of credit which remains unpaid is taken by the bank. There are dozens of such policies happening every year,” said George Gigolashvili, Director of the Georgian Insurance institute.
According to the Georgian National Bank’s statistics there were in total 350.5 million GEL worth of premiums in 2009. Out of which life insurance amounted to 9.6 million GEL – 2.65% of the full insurance premium.
As of December 2009 the number of active life insurance policies was 103,400. The average policy per person was 82 GEL, while for life insurance is was 2.2 GEL.