Occupational Fatalities in Malta

The last few days of September and the first few days of October were nothing short of shocking. During such a short period of time, Malta has witnessed the death of 4 people who lost their lives carrying out their duties at their respective workplace.

The Chamber of Engineers takes the news of such occupational accidents with sadness and extends condolences to the family members of the victim workers. While these accidents are subject to inquiry, these fatalities happened during the exercise of occupational duties while at the workplace and understandably these put a spotlight on occupational health and safety across the island.

Health and safety is one of the key priorities of engineers and reflects a fundamental value of the engineering profession’s contribution to society. The Chamber of Engineers embraces health & safety at the core of its mission and in this respect gauges an opportunity to re-iterate the importance of health and safety considerations in all sectors of society, especially including the workplace, where appropriate measures will ensure protection of the public and peace of mind for human resources which are so essential for our country.

The government is expected to take the matter of occupational health & safety very seriously and in this regard ensure increased and widespread awareness, adequate investment in capacity building, preventive measures, and personal protective equipment for employees on any shopfloor or work environment. This holds equally to any employer and any enterprise. In the past few years, the Chamber had raised grave concerns about serious deficiencies in LN 293 of 2016Work Equipment (Minimum Safety and Health Requirements) Regulations, 2016 which stipulates that any competent person can carry out inspection of work equipment. This goes against the definitions found in the principal act which specifies that these tasks can only be carried out by professionals such as an “Inġinier”. The Chamber thus reiterates its call that health & safety activities are only carried out by defined professionals who have the needed skills and training as mentioned in the principal act.

In this respect, the Chamber notes the article entitled ‘Inspectors halted works in 400 workplaces in nine months over safety risks’ published on 14th October 2020 which positively indicates action with respect to mitigating occupational hazards and enforcement on prevention of harm. This enforcement is commendable and should remain practice in all work sectors as agreeably no workplace is completely risk free.

The Chamber has consistently promoted health & safety through its policy and through its training services function. Many of these services surround the training on the safe operation of various equipment which are part and parcel of certain work environments. Standard training and more personalised programmes to develop competencies are fundamental to ensure the ability to maintain safe work practices. Health & safety is indeed priceless and we need to collectively work to make it an intrinsic part of our lifestyle.

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