Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Health & Safety at Work....

...is unheard of in Turkey.   Like everything else in life here, the Turks take huge risks every day.  They tend to believe that their fate is totally in the hands of Allah, so don't feel it necessary to protect themselves.  You only have to look at the way they drive to recognise this.

When the workmen were building the balcony roof on Saturday, there was a good deal of welding being done.  Bright lights and sparks flying everywhere, but no safety goggles or protective clothing. Goodness knows what damage they are doing to their eyes.

Early yesterday morning the power was cut...nothing unusual here of course.  The work is continuing in the village to install a new electricity supply.  Ugly metal pylons have been planted all over the village to replace the old wooden telegraph poles.  They are now at  the stage where the cables are being transferred from the poles to the pylons.   Yesterday they reached our house.

As I couldn't use the internet, I decided to sit out on the balcony and read, but found myself totally engrossed in watching the men at work.  They scale the pylons and the poles with no safety harnesses.  They work away at the top of the pylon, fixing the wires and cables, occasionally stopping, perched there, to smoke a cigarette or chat on their mobile phones.  

There is one vehicle involved in this operation.  A large mechanical digger.  It was previously used to dig the holes to plant the pylons.  It's now being used with the digging bit upside down, as a lift, with a man standing on it to take cables up to the man at the top of the pylon.

And to my horror, the digging bit is also being used to loosen the old wooden poles, pushing them violently to remove them from the earth.  We had one such wooden pole in our garden.  The digger pushed it back and forth to make it loose, then a man stood on top of the digger to tie a chain around the pole.  He remained there while he and the digger attempted to pull the pole out of the ground.

At one point as it came out of the ground it swung precariously towards our balcony roof.  I had fleeting visions of our wonderful new roof being demolished in one fell swoop.  Needless to say I rushed back into the house for my own safety.

Finally, with me holding my breath, the pole lurched the other way and fell into the lane below.  By 6.00 pm they had packed up and left, and eventually power was restored at around 7pm.

Before the workmen arrived this morning, Mr A had arranged for a man in the village to come and cut down the mulberry tree.  We have decided it has to go.  It has never produced fruit.  We cut it right back last year because it was touching the electricity and telephone wires, and also blocking our view.  It grew back again even stronger...but still no fruit.

The man arrived and cut off all the branches with an axe and then produced a chainsaw to cut down the trunk.   He was so old and shaky, and could hardly hold the chain saw.  I couldn't bear to watch and retreated to the house, hoping I wouldn't hear screams that would signal a nasty accident.

A bit later he was still having trouble sawing through the trunk and phoned his son for help.  He arrived and proceeded to try to push the trunk back and forth while his father used the chainsaw.   Eeek...his legs were so close to the chainsaw it brought me out in a sweat.  

They still couldn't uproot the tree, but I actually laughed out loud when the man's wife arrived...a stout little old woman...who gave the trunk a huge shove and it promptly fell over!

14 comments:

  1. Hi Linda! Just been catching up with your past few posts! So glad you had such a good time in the UK - I agree: being a grandmother is really wonderful!

    A tip re commenting that was passed on to me by another blogger: click on Publish Your Comment not once but 3 times and magically it's supposed to appear! Also at the very beginning when you are getting into Google, make sure that Keep me Signed In is UNticked. All v annoying!

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  2. Hi Claudia. Thanks for the tips. I have already discovered the one about leaving the "keep me signed in" unticked...which I do. However I am still unable to comment on some blogs. I'll try clicking publish 3 times xxx

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  3. That last story...thanks for making me smile this morning.:)

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  4. You're welcome Mr H. I'm still chuckling xx

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  5. The woman and the mulberry tree made me laughj out loud!

    Our turkish firends used to complain about standards on building sites in France...a lot of pressure to go up on 'crippleboards' not proper scaffolding, inspectors paid to turn a blind eye and one fatality when the boss ordered a crane operator to work in a very high wind and he was killed when the crane unbalanced...consequences for the boss? None.

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  6. The woman just took it in her stride Fly. She then proceeded to clear up the mess that the useless men had made!

    I am sure workmen are dying or being badly injured all over Turkey because of the total lack of safety regulations...it's very worrying.

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  7. The mulberry tree story made me smile....I can just imagine.

    I know what you mean about safety. Across from my Mother-in-laws apt. they were installing a cover for the balcony and on the 8 th floor they were walking on hand rails with no safety harnesses or anything...like they were circus tight rope walkers. I was waiting for some tragic episode but my husband laughs and said they probably do this for years.
    But yes... I've seen lots of those workers doing un/safe things......here they would shut the company down if you weren't even wearing safety boots.

    Have a great day out on your balcony.

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  8. Thanks Erica. It's pretty scary to watch these men at work at times!

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  9. I do so love to hear about these stories of life in your surrounding area.
    I am surprised that H&S is non existent. I think that would be continually worrying me.
    Of course, its gone too much the other way over here. To a ridiculous level. Children not being able to play conkers or marbles in case they get injured in the playground.
    Thanks for sharing your Turkish life with us.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

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  10. Maggie: I often think that I'll never be able to keep this blog going because I won't have enough interesting material, but then these odd things crop up each day providing me with something to write about!

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  11. My Turkish husband is always yelling at me saying he hates my "safety crap". Which consists of seatbelts in the car, carseats for kids, lifejackets for kids in the water, etc.. normal things here in the United States but very annoying for the Turk in him. *sigh* I get quite fed up with his carelessness.

    Terri

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  12. Terri: I'm afraid I go on to Mr A a fair bit about such things. It's a good job that some of us are sensible!

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  13. Enough to make me blench just reading this, Ayak. It reminds me of the time some workmen from FranceTelecom came to trim our poplars which were overhanging the telephone line along the lane. High ladders, brittle poplar branches, chainsaws and no safety harness make a frightening combination, even at a distance!

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  14. It's scary Perpetua. You kind of don't want to watch but can't help yourself!

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