Gozo Seminar looks at health and safety issues for local businesses

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Gozo Seminar looks at health and safety issues for local businesses A seminar on – How to instigate culture change in Occupational Health and Safety – A German Perspective – was organised by the Gozo Business Chamber (GBC) and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.

In his opening address, he President of The Gozo Business Chamber, Mr Joseph Borg, in his opening address thanked Ambassador Designate Mr Walter Hassmann for his presence. Mr Borg emphasised on how the business environment is continually evolving.

During the seminar, which took place at the University of Malta – Gozo Campus, there was a panel discussion, chaired by Mr. Michael Galea, Vice-President of the GBC.

In his introductory remarks, Mr. Galea thanked Mr Olaf Reike for supporting this seminar. He also emphasised how the Gozo Business Chamber seeks to continually improve the Gozitan business environment.

Members of the panel were, Dr Ulrike Bollman ( Head of International Cooperation, Institute of work and Health ( IAG) of the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV)); Mr Alfred Lia graduated from the university of Malta in Occupational Health and safety. He has vast experience in this sector and also worked with different organisations and heads the occupational health and safety section of the GWU; Mr Saviour Farrugia Senior manager at OHSA; and Perit Godwin Sultana – Directorate Projects and Development, Ministry for Gozo.

The GBC said that several aspects of health and safety were discussed, mostly at a local level. In addition, the seminar held a panel discussion with a number of speakers namely from OHSA Malta, GWU and the Ministry for Gozo.

A keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Ulrike Bollman. Dr Bollman is Head of International Cooperation, Institute for work and Health ( IAG) of the German Social Accident Insurance ( DGUV).

The speakers highlighted that local employers need to understand the benefits of attaining adequate levels of Occupational Heath and Safety.

The GBC said that “it became clear that to facilitate compliance, employers in Gozo wish to have more guidelines that explain measures that need to be taken, development of more electronic tools for risk assessment which will facilitate compliance by duty holders and a more meaningful involvement from social partners.”

It was also noted that although more electronic tools for risk assessment are in the pipeline by the OHSA, members present agreed that this process needs to be speeded up.

The Gozo Business Chamber said that it “strongly advocates for better regulations, without reducing the levels of occupational health and safety in any way.”

“Bureaucratic and overly complicated procedures will result in employers who will find it difficult or next to impossible to comprehend and ultimately implement,” added the GBC.

It pointed out that, “without reducing health and safety standards, the procedures need to be revised and made more process and user friendly.”

“As a business oriented organisation” the GBC said that it believes that “improvement in health and safety can be achieved through education and incentivisation as opposed to punitive action.”

The Gozo Business Chamber concluded by saying that its main role is that of representing Gozitan businesses and employers, and it was for this reason it held this seminar in Gozo.

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