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Watch: Health and safety rules simplified for domestic projects

OHSA unveils reforms which put greater onus on contractors

OHSA chief Mark Gauci. Video: Jonathan Borg

Building site scaffolding requirements and regulations to minimise falls from heights at construction sites are among the issues tackled in a new health and safety reform unveiled on Friday morning.

Occupational Health and Safety Authority head Mark Gauci said the legal notice put out guidelines for scaffolding safety, barriers, and other measures in a bid to make construction sites safer.

One in five fatal work place incidents occur at construction sites.

Earlier this month a construction worker sustained grievous injuries after he fell at a construction site in Sliema.

“Despite the importance of the construction industry to the economy, there are issues of safety that require addressing,” Mr Gauci said.

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The reform is the first review of construction site safety laws that were introduced when Malta transposed an EU directive of occupational health and safety back in 2004. 

Less red tape for homeowners

Mr Gauci said the reform was also aimed at reducing bureaucracy.

“There were a number of requirements and responsibilities put on the client or property owner, rather than those carrying out the construction works. These have been reviewed for smaller domestic projects,” he said, adding that this would considerably reduce the costs incurred for smaller projects.

The reform has done away with the need for the end client to carry out a risk assessment, putting the responsibility instead on the contractor.

The same approach was used when it came to project coordinators, whose responsibilities have also been put on contractors.

“A person doing works at their home for instance, will no longer be required to engage a project manager to carry out health and safety assessments. This will now be the contractor’s responsibility,” Mr Gauci said.

Other simplification measures, included the removal of the requirement to send a commencement notification when works start.   

The new regulations will come into effect on August 1. 

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