The Fair Labor Platform mourns the death of a construction worker who was killed on June 21 while helping build the Rikoti Pass Highway.
The employee fell from a bridge into the river while working at the Ubis section of the Rikoti pass. Emergency workers found the man’s body 24 hours later, a few kilometers from the accident site, near Shrosha.
This is not the first case of a worker being injured or killed during the construction of the highway, and not the first sign that there were serious safety issues at the site.
In January 2021, an employee of China State LLC was injured while working on the highway, and the company was fined 1,000 GEL. In February, the Labor Inspectorate examined both labor conditions and safety norms at the worksite and issued instructions identifying multiple violations. But the Labor Inspectorate never followed up to verify compliance.
Then in April 2023, drivers employed in the construction of the highway went on strike. Their demands included compliance with safety norms due to increased risks (they were working in a particularly dangerous stretch of the highway).
Still, the Labor Inspectorate failed to conduct a follow-up inspection to verify compliance with its previous orders. Unfortunately, these violations appear to have ultimately led to a fatal accident.
In light of the above, the Fair Labor Platform calls on –
The Labor Inspectorate to:
- Immediately carry out an inspection or reinspection of the company performing construction work on the Rikoti Pass Highway.
- Investigate the fatal incident and impose the strictest liability provided by law on the company.
- Consider suspending work on the highway until labor safety risks are completely eliminated, in order to guarantee the prevention of future fatal cases.
The Prosecutor’s Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to:
- Investigate the incident thoroughly and effectively within a reasonable time.
- Identification those culpable for the safety breaches and take measures to hold them accountable in accordance with the law.
The Government of Georgia to:
- Set strict requirements for companies implementing road and other public infrastructure works regarding compliance with Georgia’s labor legislation.
Fair Labor Platform signatories:
- Tbilisi Metropolitan Independent Trade Union – “Ertoba 2013”
- Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA)
- Trade Union of Science, Education and Culture
- Social Justice Center