Scaffolding Accidents in Italy Still Huge Worry for Government

A spate of scaffolding accidents in Italy shows no signs of abating following the death of a 53-year-old worker near Lecce.
More than 800 people were killed in accidents at work last year across Italy.

A spate of scaffolding accidents in Italy shows no signs of abating following the death of a 53-year-old worker near Lecce.

Oronzo Pisano, a self-employed builder, was working on a flat in Salve when he slipped and fell some six metres. Even though emergency services rushed to the scene, there was nothing they could do to save the man. The authorities there have ordered an autopsy to investigate the tragedy further.

The worrying trend also recently saw the death of a 51-year-old who was outside on scaffolding adjacent to the second floor of a property in the central Castro Pretorio area of Rome last month.

Once again, the fall proved fatal with emergency services unable to help. Safety inspectors were called within a short space of time along with police. Sadly, this followed on from another fatality at Forio, a village on the Naples Bay island. The 59-year-old was rushed to hospital but later died of his injuries.

Last September a 56-year-old man fell 10 metres from scaffolding placed on the roof of a building in Reggio Emlia. This was the 12th such accident within the course of just three days.

In fact, Scaffmag has learned more than 800 people were killed in accidents at work last year across the country, prompting the government to look closely at health and safety regulations.

During a speech in August last year Italian prime minister, Mario Draghi, said: “Among all the problems there is one thing that is dear to us all, to me in particular, and that is to try and do something to improve the unacceptable situation in terms of safety at work.”

An agreement was reached with trade unions to tighten safety regulations as well as the task of employing thousands of new health and safety inspectors.

Luigi Sbarra, the secretary of the Cisl workers union, said the implementation of measures needed to be accelerated. “Condolences and condemnation are not enough.”

The numbers of scaffolding accidents are the third largest in terms of the construction industry with much still needing to be done to ensure greater safety for workers.

In Italy, the institutional system of safety and health at work comes under the Ministry of Labour and Health, in conjunction with the Regional Coordination Committees and the social partners.

Their responsibilities include delivering advice for legislative developments, supervision, promoting health and assisting businesses.

It’s important to remember the law here in the UK requires employers and self-employed contractors to assess the risk of work at height and go on to organise and plan the work so it’s carried out safely.

Suitable precautions must be taken to prevent falls. General access scaffolds provide a means of working at height while preventing falls and should be provided whenever practicable.

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