Auburn’s Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering provides occupational safety training in Turkey

Published: Dec 4, 2015 8:00:00 AM
Media Contact: Morgan Stashick,, (334) 844-3591

Coal mine
The industrial and systems engineering team visits a Turkish coal mine; first row: Celal Gungor and M. Fehmi Capanoglu; second row: Robert Thomas, Richard Sesek, Orkide Salar, Kemal Salar and Menekse Salar; third row: Jerry Davis and Sean Gallagher

Faculty members and graduate students in Auburn University’s Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering have taken their research international and are providing occupational safety and ergonomics training to industries in Turkey.

There are approximately 313 million work-related accidents and 6,300 deaths in Turkey each year. Scientific studies imply that improved safety training could help employees and employers dramatically reduce work-related accidents.

Faculty members Jerry Davis, Sean Gallagher, Richard Sesek and Robert Thomas, as well as graduate students M. Fehmi Capanoglu and Menekse Salar, organized a workshop in collaboration with Yasar University in Izmir, Turkey, to provide this necessary education and training to various Turkish industries.

"The increasing number of work-related accidents and deaths remains a divisive topic in Turkey,” said Salar. “Last year, more than 300 miners were killed in a mining accident. As we know, a serious workplace injury or death changes lives forever, and as safety professionals our biggest role is to provide safe working conditions to everyone."

The workshop aimed to facilitate sharing of effective strategies, curricula and teaching models to foster research collaborations among universities and industrial partners, with the theme of “bringing the workplace into the classroom” and “bringing the classroom into the workplace.” Workshop participants shared ideas, techniques and materials they use for effective safety education and training.

Pre-workshop activities included visits to Turkish industries including a coal mine, large electronics manufacturer, diesel engine manufacturer and milk production facility.

“We found a strong general interest in improving occupational safety in Turkey, and this desire appears to extend across industry, government, academic and professional safety organizations,” said Thomas. “They welcomed our efforts to share our expertise, and we mutually benefitted from exposure to their industries and general safety culture.”

Auburn’s team will travel to Turkey once again for an occupational safety and ergonomics workshop to be held in Istanbul July 10-14, 2017.