The agricultural sector in Turkey has the second highest number of work-related accidents in the country, surpassed only by construction. The work requires long hours and physical stamina. The sector is troubled by problems ranging from low wages, poor living conditions and health care, dangerous commutes, and education and social issues. But because agricultural production is generally small scale and involves family workers, the sector falls outside labor regulation and policy.
Because hazelnut production in Turkey takes place mostly in family-owned small- scale orchards, traditional labor-intensive techniques remain in place and labor relations are informal. Especially during the harvest, laborers work long hours without social security benefits under severe conditions like extreme heat, on steep and slippery terrain, usually seven days a week.
To prepare this report on occupational health, safety, and risks, researchers conducted in-person interviews with producers, workers, and experts to identify all tasks and labor groups involved in hazelnut production. Researchers identified eight primary categories of hazards based on classifications used by the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):
- biological hazards (plants, animals, and humans);
- physical hazards (sunlight, heat and cold);
- chemical hazards (pesticides and fertilizer);
- ergonomic hazards (repetitive movement and exhaustion);
- accidents and injuries;
- work environment hazards;
- habitation environment hazards; and
- psychosocial hazards.
The report below elaborates on each of the categories and explains the effects of these hazards on high-risk groups such as children, young workers, and pregnant women.