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Public safety issues

Reference is made to the article ‘Talk to the police, concerned citizen told after reporting dangling AC unit’ (timesofmalta.com, August 14).

The Occupational Health and Safety Authority would like to voice its objection to the slant taken by the report, which states that the said citizen was rebuffed or that, at any time, OHSA informed the complainant the matter was not its concern. This is categorically untrue.

Issues of public safety fall outside the applicability of the Occupational Health and Safety Authority Act. The complaint concerned a precariously-hanging air-conditioning condenser unit on an abandoned building, a situation which falls outside the applicability of the Occupational Health and Safety Authority Act.

The person lodging the complaint was described as being “civic-minded”. Nevertheless, he had no qualms about using his time to inform the Times of Malta instead of alerting the police for action to be taken, as he was advised to do by the OHSA.

One should also note that directing complainants to the proper authorities is part of the OHSA’s strategy of educating the public regarding which entity is responsible for issues that fall outside the applicability of the Occupational Health and Safety Authority Act.

To date, the OHSA is still inundated with hundreds of similar complaints concerning issues of public safety, nuisances (such as dust, noise, odours) as well as issues of a civil nature (including in residential buildings) that do not fall within its legal remit.

The OHSA would have appreciated being consulted by the Times of Malta prior to the publication of the said article to ensure that the whole picture is represented and all views taken into consideration.

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