ATAA UN Related Announcement# 21

The Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), formally associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications (DGC), presenting an article written by an expert member of its community in support of the UN World Day of Safety and Health at Work 28 April. 

Author: Levent Onat, PhD, ATAA  Southeast Region Vice President


The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda was adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. Global partners were urgently called for action on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  With this article we are addresses following global targets relate to ATAA UN Relations Commitments:

  • #3 Good Health and Well-being
  • #4 Quality Education
  • #12 Responsible Consumption and Production

Safety and Health– A Way of Life

When contemplating the foundation of a society, it is widely acknowledged that a strong and healthy family is essential. This is because the foundation of a family is built upon love, mutual respect, and most importantly the safety and health of each member, all of which serve as pillars of support for society as a whole.

It is imperative to recognize that safety and health are equally essential in both our personal and professional lives. While we may prioritize the safety of our families at home, it is equally important to ensure our safety at work, as this allows us to return to our loved ones at the end of each day. It is crucial, therefore, that we collaborate to foster a positive safety and health culture not only in our homes but also in our workplaces.

Safety and health at work is a crucial aspect of any workplace, as it ensures that workers are protected from harm and injury while carrying out their tasks. A safe and healthy work environment not only promotes employee well-being but also enhances productivity, efficiency, and profitability of businesses.

Every workplace comes with its own set of hazards and risks, and it’s our responsibility to protect ourselves and others by prioritizing safety and health. This begins with educating ourselves on our rights and the potential hazards in our work environment. By being proactive, we can establish an effective safety culture that starts with each individual taking personal responsibility for their own safety.

Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace involves identifying potential hazards and implementing policies, procedures, and safety measures such as personal protective equipment (PPE). Employers should conduct regular risk assessments to identify potential hazards and take measures to eliminate or minimize risks, such as providing safety equipment or altering work practices.

When it comes to safety and health, it’s important to be proactive and take steps to prevent injuries or even fatalities. However, there are also unpredictable risks that we need to be prepared for in order to ensure the safety and well-being of ourselves, our families, and our co-workers. For example, the recent earthquake in Türkiye resulted in over 50,000 deaths and more than 100,000 injuries, impacting six cities and approximately 13 million people.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, earthquakes occur when two blocks of the earth suddenly slip past one another along a fault or fault plane. While scientists have tried numerous methods of predicting earthquakes, none have been successful, and it is unlikely they will ever be able to predict them with accuracy. However, scientists do know that earthquakes will occur again in the future along specific fault lines, even though they cannot predict exactly when they will happen.

It’s crucial that we remain vigilant and educate ourselves on potential risks. By doing so, we can take proactive measures to protect ourselves and those around us, such as establishing emergency plans and preparing disaster kits. Perhaps we cannot prevent the blocks of the earth to slip but when we know the hazards and the risks, we can always be proactive and seek scientific and effective ways to protect ourselves and others to ensure safety and health at our personal and professional lives such as engineering the buildings and the structures in a way to prevent them to cause fatalities during earthquakes or simply having a workplace/family emergency plan to know what to do in case of emergencies . Ultimately, it is up to individuals, governments, and organizations to work together and take steps to promote safety and health in all aspects of life.

In conclusion, ensuring safety and well-being in the workplace is crucial, whether it’s a minor paper cut or a natural disaster like an earthquake or tornado. It’s essential to realize that taking proactive actions and being educated on safety measures are the first steps towards promoting a safe and healthy workplace for ourselves and our colleagues. Please remember, safety and health begin with YOU, and all incidents are preventable. By being aware of all the hazards and risks and taking the necessary precautions, we can ensure a safe and healthy environment for everyone. Let’s Act together for a safer workplace starting today on the world day for safety and health at work.

Have a safe day,

Levent Onat, PhD
ATAA Southeast Region V.P.
Assembly of Turkish American Associations –  ATAA


 About the Author

Levent Onat, PhD. is originally from Izmir, Türkiye, and has lived in seven different cities across the country. His childhood was enriched with the opportunity to travel extensively throughout the country before embarking on global explorations.

Dr. Onat completed his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Environmental Engineering. He then worked as a researcher at the University of Stuttgart in Germany and as an environmental engineer in the private sector in Türkiye. Upon relocating to the United States, he obtained another M.S. degree in Environmental Engineering and a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Engineering with a focus on Health and Safety. With over 20 years of experience as an Occupational health and Safety, Environmental professional, he has worked in various industries such as chemical, oil & gas, foundry, automotive, wood manufacturing, as well as academia. Dr. Onat is also an authorized outreach instructor/trainer for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Presently, he is the Program Manager, Occupational Safety and Health, for the world’s largest privately owned industrial gases business overseeing the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Dr. Onat has actively served in Turkish student organizations and Turkish-American Associations since he moved to the United States. He currently serves as the Vice President for the Southeastern Region and the U.N. Committee of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA). Additionally, he is the President of the Turkish American Association of Alabama (TAAA). Dr. Onat has been residing in Alabama with his wife since 2001 and enjoys traveling, swimming, designing/repairing electronics, and spending quality time with his family

Collaborating Organizations

Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) is a fast-growing umbrella organization of Turkish American associations throughout the United States, and Turkey, dedicated to pursuing the interests of Turkish Americans and friends of Turkey in Washington and beyond.

In July 2020, Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) “Association” with United Nations Department of Global Communications (UN-DGC) was approved and ATAA Committee on UN Relations was formed.

Established in 1979 to fight defamation and attacks on Turkish Americans, ATAA has evolved to be the most influential grassroots umbrella organization for the Turkish American community in the United States, Canada and Turkey.

The strength of ATAA not only comes from its ability to unite many local Turkish-American organizations but also its ability to empower them. The ATAA Board of Directors, representing 13 different geographical regions within the U.S., brings the voice of many Turkish Americans to this organization. This representation, creating a network of communities, enables transference of ideas, brings about new solutions to existing problems, and in turn empowers the communities during the process. Since 1979, to this date, the Assembly has managed to serve this purpose only through the “volunteerism” of its Board of Directors.

ATAA is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization that relies on membership dues, private donations, as well as private and public grants. (

Turkish American Association of Alabama (TAAA)’s mission of the organization is to promote and develop relations between the United States, Turkey and all Turkic people of the World and enhance the interaction between their cultures through educational, cultural and charitable activities. (

For inquire or question please email to: (Alev Wieland) or (Yucel Burdurlu) or

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Related:  ATAA Becomes Associate Member of the UN-DGC