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Tuesday, 31 March 2020
Health and Safety, security of basic needs and industry | Not to be compromised

Proposed Engineering Profession Act draft Amendments to the Engineering Profession Act (Cap. 321) could lead to potential degradation of services with serious implications on health and safety standards, security of basic needs and an impact on industry.

The recently proposed changes to the Engineering Profession Act (Cap 321) are considered to be of grave detriment to the engineering profession in Malta and as a result not only pose a serious threat to the health and safety of the Maltese population but also threaten the professional activities of more than 2000 professionals in Malta".

This statement was issued by the Chamber of Engineers after reviewing the proposed changes to the Act.

The Chamber explained that Amendments to the Engineering Profession Act  (Cap.321) were triggered because of breach with respect to provisions in EU directives relating to - Mutual Recognition of Qualifications Directive;  Services Directive and the Professional Qualifications directive.

The Chamber explained that such proposals were initiated back in 2016, when changes had started to be proposed.  The Chamber, took an active role in discussions with the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure and proposed a number of changes. It was only until June 2019 that a  new set of changes to the Act was drafted.  Once again the Chamber raised a number of pertinent issues and new propositions were made, with the board advising that a new version would be available later for consultation. The new draft was received on the 7th of November.

The Chamber highlighted a number of significant issues in the proposed Act.

The definition of ‘Engineer’ is deleted entirely and a new definition of ‘Engineering Services’ is introduced. The Chamber strongly feels that by using the definition ‘engineering services’  coupled with allowing any legal person to provide such services means that the law, as being proposed, will give leeway for less qualified persons (any legal person) to perform engineering services..

Furthermore, the revised act contemplates that Reserved Activities of the Profession of Engineer refers only to the certification of any engineering service of a mechanical or electrical nature. This is deemed too limited a definition and does not reflect the reality of the Maltese industry. In Malta, the certification of engineering systems is required by law in only a handful of instances. In simple terms, the revised law may allow individuals with little engineering education or charlatans posing as engineers to not only design engineering systems but also get away without proper certification of their designs given that there are no existing barriers presented by law.

The Chamber emphasised that  Engineering Services under the law (Engineering Profession Act) should not be performed by non-qualified persons in view of public health & safety. Adding insult to injury, the legal person who does not hold a warrant of engineer, can perform any engineering service without the need to have a professional indemnity insurance. This could lead to severe consequences to the industry but also to the general public.

“Whilst the Chamber understands the necessity to amend the Act from time to time, it does not agree to broadening of the context of such Act which will lead to potential degradation of health and safety as well as the quality of the whole spectrum of industry, “ explained Dr Inġ. Daniel Micallef, President of the Chamber of Engineers. “The proposed amendments could effectively allow abuse from industry who may bypass professional inputs to cheaper alternatives with the ultimate victim being the general public. The Chamber will continue to actively discuss and negotiate this Act to ensure that any changes are reasonable and acceptable without compromising quality and safety”

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 November 2019 10:35