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Italy 2008 - Top of the European League of Workplace Deaths

CENSIS, an Italian Institute for social investment (see below) issued its latest report.
1,170 workers were killed in the workplace in 2007.
In Italy in 2007 there were twice as many workplace deaths and 8 times as many road deaths as murders.
But the government is focusing all its energy on combating crime.
Giuseppe Roma, Censis Director General said: "It is very clear the distortion between real dangers and the steps that have to be taken to combat them. Measures are not in place in workplaces and roads to ensure that Italian citizens are safe there. People often think a road death is just an accident but the figures from other European countries show this is not true".
Italians have the right to work. They don't have a duty to die at work

Since 1st January 2008 there have been
632 workplace deaths
632,606 injured at work
15,815 disabled workers

Workers are dying every day in their workplaces.

Some examples for the week 229th July-5th August 2008:
18-year-old Alessandro Fasoli, from Sona (Verona), died in the Gardaland Fun park,in Castelnuovo del Garda where he had got a summer job at the beginning of June. On duty at the gates of the train that ran round the park , he bent down to pick up a piece of litter on the tracks and was squeezed to death between two trains.

40-year-old crane driver Umberto Pucci, from Porticci, Naples, lost his balance and fell from the crane to his death on the ground 40 feet below.

A 37-year old Nigerian (no name!!) working on the roof of a building belonging to the'San Gabriele' di Trebaseleghe wine-makers fell 45 feet to his death (Padua).

Two 27- and 28- year old maintenance workers (no names) were poisoned when, at nine o'clock in the morning, they fell into a cistern containing dirty water in a recycling plant in Merano (Bolzano). The second managed to raise the alarm on his mobile before losing consciousness. Both were found floating face down in the water.

A 25 year old woman (no name) lost 3 fingers from her right hand when they were squashed in a press in the 'Star Cluth' metalworking plant in Jesi, Ancona.

2003-2005 There was an average of 1328 workplace deaths every year in Italy.
More than the USA fatalities in Iraq.
In Italy people go to work (war) every day for low salaries, spending 8 to 10 hours on scaffolding, at furnaces, operating machines with disactivated safety devices, often without personal protection - all to increase productivity and reduce costs.
They are not victims of accidents. They are victims of bosses who refuse to obey laws on safety in the workplace, who could not care less about their workforce whether they are factory workers, construction workers, dockers or farm labourers.

September 2007: One year after the Prodi government promulgated a law (48/2006, art. 36 bis) stating firms would be closed if 20% of the workforce were found to be working as "black labour" Mr Cesare Damiani then Minister of Labour, announced:
Over 50% of the 27, 571 sites inspected were operating under illegal working conditions; 2224 had been closed down
4,558,780 "black" labourers had been identified. Most were illegal immigrants.
At work they had only been risking their lives. After being identified they risked deportation.

Tito Boeri and Pietro Ichino wrote in Business on line:
It is a well-known fact that in many illegal worksites the victims of fatal accidents are carried off to the side of a nearby road and left there so they seem to be victims of road accidents. Statistics (sources Bls, Eurostat e ILO) show that in Italy there are 6 workplace fatalities every 100,000 workers compared with 1 in the UK, 1.5 in Sweden and 3 in Germany. And this is has been going on for decades. It's nothing new.

How did the Government react to the CENSIS report?
Roberto Castelli (Northern league) Under-secretary for Transport and Infrastructure said:"The figures are wrong. Manipulated for insurance claims for the famiglies of workers who lose their lives travelling to and from the workplace. It's time we had the truth. These deaths have nothing to do with safety in the workplace. It's time to stop calling Italian bosses and industrialists criminals. If you take out the number of deaths in the building industry and agriculture, you can see the manufacturing industry is as safe as any in Europe"
Pietro Mercandalli, President of the National Association of Disabled and Invalid workers objected indignantly "Mr Castelli should stop and think. I would like to remind him that in 2007 there were 185 deaths in manufacturing compared with 101 in France, 113 in Spain and 127 in Germany"
Cesare Damiano, Former Minister of Labour in the Prodi government:
"Castelli's statement is a dangerous attack on safety in the workplace"
Senator Tiziano Treu, Vice-president of the Labour Commission
"Minimizing the problem is extremely irresponsible"
Achille Passoni of the PD party "Castelli should be ashamed of himself. He should apologize to all those people who have lost a relative at work"
Daniele Marantelli, parliamentarian from Varese who coined the slogan "Zero deaths for Expo 2015" said "Castelli and other members of the Government should start considering the value of human lives - not just the value of business and tenders"
Paola Agnello Modica, National Secretary of the Cgil Trade Union commented: "Strange he wants to take out deaths in the building industry and agriculture. Why? Are they second class citizens? Or maybe it's because they are often foreign immigrants? He should start fixing up the roads they have to use to get to work and invest in public transport"
Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights presented a special report at Strasbourg, 29.07.2008 - Italy
"Immigration policy must be based on human rights principles and not only on perceived security concerns", says Commissioner Hammarberg "Concern about security cannot be the only basis for immigration policy. Measures now being taken in Italy lack human rights and humanitarian principles and may spur further xenopohobia,".

What is Censis?
Censis, Centre for Social Investment Studies an Socio-Economic Research was founded in 1964 and became a Foundation in 1973. Its activities include research, consultations, assessments, proposals, on social areas such as education, occupation, welfare, national networks, the environment, the economy, local and urban development, government, communications and culture. Research projects are usually commissioned by Government Ministers,Regional, Provincial and Municipal authorities, Chambers of Commerce, Banks, Firms, International organizations and the EU.

 link to www.businessonline.it
Press release - 558(2008) Council of Europe

candle in the wind