Occupational health and safety in hospitals lacking - MUMN
Occupational health and safety in government hospitals should be improved as it is practically non-existent, the president of the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses, Paul Pace, said this morning.
Addressing a news conference, Mr Pace said occupational health and safety was lacking even at Mater Dei, where the unit labelled Occupational Health and Safety remained empty.
Moreover, occupational health and safety officers were not medically trained.
He said that there was a workforce of 4,000 people at Mater Dei, a third of whom were midwives and nurses. There was a high sick leave rate and this needed to be looked into.
Nurses and midwives worked in an environment which made them prone to injuries, the most common being to the neck and back because of the handling of patients and equipment, Mr Pace said
In the same way that there were occupational health and safety measures in private companies, there should also be such measures in state hospitals, and these should focus on prevention through the education of staff, including managers. The latter had to be aware of the risks their staff took.
According to EU law, Mr Pace said, all workforces had to have occupational health and safety services.
To drive this message through to the government, the MUMN invited the Federation of Occupational Health Nurses to hold their board meeting in Malta, raising awareness of the situation.
The federation accepted the invitation.
Its president, Julie Staun, stressed the importance of prevention and promotion of health and said that Malta had qualified people in occupational health so it was now a matter of government backing to put the right people in the right places.