MEA annual conference focuses on EU Health and Safety standards
"Adopting EU Occupational Health and Safety Standards
A Mutual Benefit to Social Partners" was this years
focus for the conference held by The Malta Employers Association
last week. The conference was carried out in co-operation with the Occupational
Health and Safety Authority, Bank of Valletta plc, Central Cigarette
Company Ltd, Marsovin Ltd, Middlesea Group, Airmalta plc and Simonds
Farsons Cisk plc.
In the Welcome address Dr. Paul De Battista, President of the Malta
Employers Association held "Together, unions, employers and
the Authority should work hand in hand to educate all the parties concerned
and to effect implementation." He also put emphasis on the need
to tackle the problems related to stress at work which, as underlined
in the address of Hon. Dolores Cristina, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry
of Social Policy, could be the result of new hazards in the workplace,
consisting of harassment and discrimination as well as bullying by their
The variety of speakers included a foreign speaker, Nick Starling (Director
Safety Policy Health and Safety Executive, United Kingdom). The speakers
deliberated on different aspects of this subject matter. The role of
the Occupational Health and Safety was expressed by Dr. Mark Gauci,
(CEO, Occupational Health and Safety Authority) Dr. Roselyn Borg (Executive
EU & Legal Affairs, Malta Employers Association) gave a presentation
highlighting the legal aspect of Occupational Health and Safety, Charlot
Caruana (Health and Safety Coordinator, Baxter Ltd), Louis Naudi (Group
Director of Human Resources, Island Hotel Groups) and John Spiteri (Health
and Safety Manager, Simonds Farsons Cisk plc) explained the practical
implementation of Health and Safety within their respective companies.
Moreover a trade union approach, a statistical study, and the role of
the Injuries Board were presented.
The speakers put forward an advanced understanding and a further awareness
of this area under constant discussion to the well-attended conference.
Joe Gerada, Health and Safety Officer, Union Haddiema Maqghudin emphasized
on the importance of having Health and Safety Representatives at the
work place, "Safety representatives are a must in todays
shop world and should be followed not only on paper but in real terms
that should be a mixture of workers and managers on equal footing ready
to discuss any health and safety topics." The importance of the
understanding of Health and Safety Regulations by the worker was highlighted
by the President of the General Workers Union, Saviour Sammut, "The
worker should bear in his mind that if he is injured, besides his physical
self, there are his dependants who will also suffer with him."
Secretary General of the Confederation of Maltese Trade Unions, Charles
Magro said that "employers must perceive the provision of a safe
and healthy environment as an investment
The worker will be more
keen to give in his daily input, and he will be well worth his salary."
Dr. Mark Gauci when elaborating on The OHSA said that the Authority
"ultimately has one primary goal - to reduce injuries and illnesses
at places of work, for the benefit of all stakeholders." He also
made an appeal to employers "to first avoid risks, evaluate those
that cannot be avoided and control them at source." The role of
the Injuries Board was clarified by Edward Gatt, Director, Social Services
Security Department wherein he also focused on claims for Injury Benefit,
Grants or Pensions which need to be medically examined by the Medical
Panel appointed for the purpose.
Alfred Camilleri, Director General, National Statistics Office said
that the number of work days lost because of accidents in the workplace
cost around Lm1.4 million last year and a total of 190.8 million was
spent on social security benefits. Moreover, Mr Camilleri said 76,851
work days were lost because of accidents in the workplace, with the
number of accidents accumulating to 4,936.
As Dr De Battista accentuated "The Malta Employers' Association
is involved in the dialogue about Occupational Health and Safety on
an international level through its participation in the International
Organisation of Employers. In fact, OHS will be one of the main debates
in this year's International Labour Organisation Conference in a few