The Malta Independent 30 March 2023, Thursday
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Builders and contractors should be licensed – PN MP

Marc Galdes Tuesday, 31 January 2023, 18:53 Last update: about 3 months ago

Nationalist MP Albert Buttigieg said that builders and contractors should be licensed.

He spoke in Parliament as MPs were discussing an amendment to the Criminal Code that will authorize  the involvement of the Occupational Health and Safety Authority in magisterial inquirues arising out of industrial accidents or incidents happening at a place of work.

The role of the Occupational Health and Safety Authority (OHSA) is to oversee workplace safety. To date, the OHSA can investigate cases but it is not involved in the magisterial inquiry appointed to every incident in the workplace. The magisterial inquiry collects and protects necessary evidence and determines whether any specific person or persons may be arraigned.


The PL insisted that this will not affect the process of the magisterial inquiry, it will only be aiding the process of the magisterial inquiry.

However, the PN has said that this proposed bill is "half-baked" and "dangerous" as it would allow external interference in the magisterial inquiry process which could compromise the rights of both victims and the accused. The PN emphasised the importance of maintaining independence during the magisterial inquiry process.

Buttigieg pointed out how other professions such as lawyers and doctors all need licensing, however, builders and contractors do not need it, even though people's lives depend on them.

He also said there is a course at MCAST which should become obligatory for all builders and contractors.

When talking about the number of pending magisterial inquiries, he said that there is an agreement from both sides of the House that there is a backlog open magisterial inquiries for injuries and fatalities.

Buttigieg also insisted that the number of fatalities should not only be seen as a statistic, because behind every death there is a family that is traumatised.

He added that more human resources are needed to deal with cases.

"Justice delayed is justice denied."

He said that if the government believes that there is a need for more of this kind of work, the government needs to make sure that professionals are carrying out this work.

He pointed out that the almost 4400 inspections that the OHSA carried out last year were not enough and more needed to be done. He compared this to 2001 when there were over 9000 inspections, during a time when less development was taking place.

He also said that spot checks need to be more frequent, and therefore, it should be an obligation that an OHSA official is on construction sites with a checklist to make sure everything is in order.

PL MP Ray Abela pointed out how 6000 skill cards have been granted to workers who have undertaken the basic course since the Building Industry Consultative Council launched the skills card.

He also said that besides the inspections the OHSA carried out in 2022, it issued almost 600 notices to improve health and safety, and almost 700 notices to stop works being carried out.

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