More than half of workplace accidents that happened over the past two years have been related to the construction industry, new data by the National Statistics Office reveals. 

In a news release on Friday, the NSO said that in 2022 and 2023 all of the fatalities in workplace accidents were men and that 55% of them worked in the construction industry. 

Five people died while at work in 2023 overall, while 15 died in 2022. 

Among them was 26-year-old Mohammed Kasem Hashem Alkhateeb who died after falling the height of one storey while he was working. 

His family told Times of Malta how he had escaped war-torn Syria at 17 and came to Malta in search of a better life. 

Freeport worker Raymond Mifsud also died while working last year when he was critically injured in a collision between two container transporters. The 58-year-old had been working on a container ship at the time. 

Some 60% of all fatal accidents in the workplace were Maltese people, while the remaining 40% were non-EU citizens. 

Three out of four of these accidents involved employees. 

2022 was found to be the deadliest year for workplace accidents in 18 years, with 15 deaths on file. The only year that came close to this figure was 2004, during which 14 workplace fatalities were recorded. 

The NSO also found that head injuries were the cause of 90% of all workplace deaths. In 2022 and 2023, 18 of the 20 fatalities involved concussions and internal injuries.

Some 65% of the victims of workplace fatalities involved people who were in an elementary occupation - namely jobs that require the use of hand tools and some physical effort. 

In a study published in January, The Church’s Justice and Peace Commission found that racism has a part to play in injuries and deaths on construction sites. 

Foreign workers told the study's authors that they did not feel empowered to speak up when they thought conditions were unsafe to work in, lest they be branded as troublemakers. 

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