The Corradino factory construction site collapse killed one and injured five workers. Over the past couple of years there have been a number of serious construction site accidents that have prompted concerns by industry representatives on how these incidents are pushing locals away and increasing the dependence on foreign workers.
These concerns led to a number of commitments and remarks by the Malta Developer Association (MDA) earlier this year to improve both workers’ conditions and the public’s perception of the industry.
According to the NSO, 90 per cent of workplace fatalities take place at construction sites, and prior to the accident at Corradino, 59 magisterial inquiries were initiated since 2017, half of which are still ongoing.
The situation related to workplace health and safety in the construction sector still has a very long way to go. During the MARE expo national property summit, the MDA’s vice-president Denise Xuereb highlighted that Malta must address safety at construction sites, the licensing of contractors, the skills gap, and offer better wages, if it is to change the poor perception of the industry and incentivise more youths to take up a job in the sector.
Ms Xuereb further remarked that the sector is still considered high risk, is underpaid, and not well esteemed, noting that it is the developers’ obligation to collectively acknowledge the problems in the sector and address them, urging for a complete transformation. At the time, she was “baffled” that development contractors in Malta remained unlicensed.
The construction sector has employed more than 18,000 people according to Minister for Planning and Public Works Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi. Of these around 2,000 are EU nationals, and around 5,000 are third country national, as per JobsPlus data.
A construction industry skills card was launched in 2016 and is issued by the Building Industry Consultative Council (BICC), supposedly demonstrating the holder’s competence and ability to work in a safe manner. The skills card, is recognised by all EU member states.
However recent data shows that only 2,169 individuals in Malta have acquired the skills card as of this year, amounting to roughly 13 per cent of construction sector workers.
Below is a short list of some construction site accidents since 2020:
2nd March 2020
An excavation site triggered the collapse of a Ħamrun home and claimed the life of resident Miriam Pace. Court sittings revealed that both the architects and developer of the site brushed off the Pace’s family’s concerns in the week leading up to the collapse. Two architects have since been found guilty of involuntary homicide and involuntary damage to third-party property.
23rd July 2020
A wall collapsed in a Cospicua construction site, taking the life of one of the workers, Sarjo Conteh, and injuring another.
28th September 2021
A construction worker, Lamin Jaiteh, was dumped on the side of the road by his employer after sustaining injuries from a fall at a construction site in Mellieħa. The employer has since been charged with 20 offences and was denied bail after being charged with causing grievous injury to an employee who suffered spinal injuries in a fall.
16th October 2021
There were two incidents on two separate construction sites on this day. One construction worker’s life was taken after falling three storeys at a building site in Ħamrun, and another individual fell one storey in Pieta’.
14th September 2022
A construction worker, Luca Curmi, died after falling four storeys from a construction site in Munxar, Gozo.
3rd December 2022
The Corradino factory construction site collapse, which claimed the life of JeanPaul Sofia and injured five other workers. Prime Minister Robert Abela remarked that all contractors needed to shoulder their responsibilities.
Featured Image: Image showing the Corradino collapsed construction site/ Photo by Byron Camilleri, Minister for Home Affairs
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