Cyprus Mail

Safety at work needs to be reassessed says expert

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Work safety should be taken seriously and stricter protocols promoted at all levels, an occupational health and safety expert said on Monday, speaking in the wake of the fatal train crash in Greece.

Cyprus also faces deep-rooted systemic omissions in labour safety, occupational health and safety researcher at the European University of Cyprus (EUC) Olga Nicolaidou said.

This is particularly evident in data on the number of fatal accidents in the construction industry, Nicolaidou told CyBC radio.

Human error is what it is, she said, however, placing all the responsibility for an accident on only one worker is misguided.

Comparing the safety cultures of Cyprus and Greece, Nicolaidou said there is negativity towards checks and monitoring, that needs to be examined, and a more pro-active approach should be promoted.

Dangers of various occupations must be systemically analysed, and incentives given to employers, as well as employees to feel included and valued for reporting possible errors and omissions.

Employees often feel they will be downgraded if they complain, or that they need to manage situations even when they feel insecure about them, Nicolaidou said, something which needs to change.

The bureaucratic burden inevitable for proper checks and safety should not be seen as something to be avoided but as a necessary part of a normal process, the expert said.

An EUC study looking at data from 2019-2020 in Cyprus, reveals hazards in the construction and manufacturing industries, Nicolaidou warned, adding that work accidents are most often the end results of repeatedly ignored small failures and omissions.

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Source: Cyprus News Agency