A large load of crates of insulation material was left dangling over pedestrians in Sliema after a contractor failed to properly cordon off the street.

Shocked bystanders watched people strolling under the load of around 20 blue crates suspended around 12 floors up on the Fortina development on Saturday morning.

Fortina Investments has apologised for “the oversight” and the Occupational Health and Safety Authority is investigating.

A spokesperson for Fortina Investments has apologised after crates were left hanging directly above the pavement in Sliema. Video: Rene Rossignad.

Photographer Rene Rossignaud filmed the scene at around 10.30am, describing it as “shameful and beyond belief”.

The footage shows the load of around 20 bright blue crates suspended high up on the side of the building near Tigné, supported by only a wooden pallet and two straps.

While the footage shows some metal barriers surrounding the pavement below, the area was not fully closed off, leaving pedestrians to walk underneath, seemingly unaware of what was hanging high above them.

A security guard, briefly absent, can be seen on the ground floor standing next to one of the metal barriers but does not appear to alert passing pedestrians to the crates above or warn them to avoid the area.

“It wasn’t just a one-off, they were transferring crates up all morning to different floors, some even higher,” said Rossignaud.

He said tourists on Tigné Bridge were taking photos and “discussing it in disbelief,” and added that when other crates had been hauled up earlier that week workers had cordoned off the area underneath.

“What was shocking is that they didn’t do so this time and it didn’t seem properly supported,” he said.

While the site is owned by Fortina Investments, the contracting company responsible for the crates has not been confirmed.

Responding to questions, a spokesperson for Fortina Investments acknowledged the area had “not been adequately cordoned off when crates of jablo [polystyrene insulation] were being hauled up.”

Stressing that “safety is a priority that guides our operations,” the spokesperson said a security representative was normally onsite to redirect pedestrians and apologised “for the oversight”.

“We want to assure that we are taking action to ensure this does not happen again,” she said.

A spokesperson for the OHSA said the authority was alerted to the video on Sunday evening and had sent a team to investigate the site the following morning.

On Monday afternoon, the spokesperson said officers from the authority had identified “a number of other issues” during their visit and were investigating further, adding the number of contractors and sub-contractors on large projects such as the site at Tigné made such investigations “challenging”.

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