See our Guide to Dealing with an Accident in Turkey for some general advice about this subject – this guide covers special points to do with work accidents.
If you are an employee who has suffered an accident at work, there are three main things for you to bear in mind:
- The legal requirements
- The requirements of your employer
- 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 after a work accident in Turkey
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 the incident, and there are many who would argue that every accident ought to be reported: after all, 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 working days). The second requirement 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 may recover some 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 and recording 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 after an accident at work in Turkey
If you suffer an accident at work which was not your fault and 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.
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 work.
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 many 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.