Every worker has the right to have the highest levels of health and safety in the workplace where he works. Good working conditions do not only mean good wages. They also mean that the workplace offers a serene environment, good work systems and protection for the worker’s health. Every employer has an obligation to see that the workers have full protection for their health and all the necessary means are taken to make this happen.
This is why this site and the General Workers’ Union in particular constantly stress how important it is to strengthen as much as we can the measures for health and safety at the workplaces. This is true for every workplace in every sector of the economy. We cannot talk about this area for construction work only which perhaps many consider as the main source of workplace accidents. Every workplace including factories, catering establishments, hotels, hospitals and schools, in every workplace there must be a high level of protection for all workers.
The tragedy in Kordin that claimed the life of Jean Paul Sofia together with a number of other accidents at the workplace led to more questions being asked about the health and safety situation at the workplace -work. Questions related to the work carried out by the Occupational Health and Safety Authority – the OHSA, as well as the steps being taken by everyone who is responsible in each workplace to the health and safety of workers is protected.
Over the years, also through the work of the OHSA, extensive work has been done to improve the level in this area but we still think that there is still more to be done. The Government even felt the need to, after 20 years of experience, update the Act that had established this Authority and in fact issued a White Paper on the proposed changes. We encourage the Government to consider carefully what came out of the public consultation and move so that in the shortest possible time, the new Act is brought forward for discussion and passes through the Parliament.
The enforcement that is done is very important but the enforcement, including through inspections by OHSA inspectors, is not the only means to improve the health and safety situation at the workplaces.
We cannot fail to notice that in the first six months of this year the number of workplace accidents decreased by around 10% and we only had one fatality when last year, in same period 9 people died in workplace accidents. It is possible that the increase in awareness combined with the increase in enforcement started to give the results we want, that the accidents at the workplaces and particularly the deaths decrease.
While we note with satisfaction these results, it does not mean that there is nothing left to do. No matter how many inspections are carried out by the authorities concerned, it is also very important that everyone involved, whether it is a construction site, whether it is a factory, an office or any other workplace, is responsible for their actions to see that their health and safety those who work with him will be protected.
The employer has the responsibility to see that the workplace he manages is at all times safe for his employees as are also those specially appointed to protect health and safety. Even the workers themselves must observe the health and safety rules so as not to injure themselves or put their lives in danger. For example, if their job requires them to wear protective clothing, they should do so.
We call for everyone to have full knowledge about the importance of health and safety at the workplace. Here also comes the educational part where not only the workers but also the children and young people who are still climbing the educational ladder should be taught about this subject. Convinced that with a culture where we have more knowledge about this area we will get to the workplace accidents and particularly fatalities, we will continue to reduce them and everyone will benefit from this.