Labour Inspection Structure and organization

Name of institution that manager work issues

Ministry of Education, Employment and Family, and specifically the Department Industrial and Employment Relations is responsible for labour and employment issues.

Department(s) responsible for Labour Inspection

The supervision and control of the labour inspection system is placed under the authority of the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations (DIER) and the Occupational Health and Safety Authority (OHSA) The DIER is composed of the Director’s Office, the International Affairs and research Branch, the Administrative Branch and the Enforcement and Employment Agencies Branch. Inspectors working in two sections staff this branch: the Terminations and Inspectorate Sections. The Terminations Section processes queries and investigates complaints primarily related to employees whose employment has been terminated. The Inspectorate Section is responsible for monitoring conditions of employment and processing complaints of workers who are still in employment. This involves an ongoing programme of inspections to target particular sectors or to investigate specific complaints.

Both the DIER and the OHSA coordinate their activities.

Law that covers organization and functional composition

  • Chapter 452, Employment and Industrial Relations Act; Act XXII of 2002, as amended by Acts IX of 2003 and III of 2004.
  • Chapter 424 Occupational Health and Safety Authority Act of 2000.

Scope of labour inspection

Inspectors under the DIER carry out inspections relating to employment contracts and conditions of employment in terms of the Employment and Industrial Relations Act, while the OHSA inspectors carry out inspections on health and safety at the workplace in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Authority Act. Both Acts apply to all workplaces in all sectors of economy, public and private.

Different Memoranda of understanding and of cooperation have been signed in order to avoid overlapping responsibilities; ensure coordination of activities and to outline goals and procedures of different authorities that have conflicting competencies over inspection of different occupational safety and health issues.

Local divisions

The OSHA operates as a single entity from one set of premises that houses all sections. The DIER also operates from the headquarter offices.

Programming and communication

The OHSA operates according to a Strategic Plan 2007-2012. Annual plans also monitor performance according to key performance indicators. Working plans are discussed with the social partners.

Frequent meetings, the internet and other forms of information exchange ensure that OHSA inspectors and the rest of the staff communicate regularly.

Human Resources and career development

Permanency of inspectors

Labour inspectors of the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations and the OSHA are public officials and form part of the public service. The status and conditions of service of all these officers are independent of changes of Government and are not subject to improper external influences.

Selection process

Recruitment of OHSA inspectors is through call-for-applications. A board interviews applicants and the Chief Executive Officer makes a final decision and appoints them. Labour inspectors may also be recruited after a two-year contract as a Trainee OHS Officer. Recruits follow introductory training course, followed by an on-going training programme. New inspectors are also assigned to a more senior inspector for specific timeframes.

Labour inspectors recruited for the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations are given informal training on legal matters by the department’s legal officers, and they are also assigned to an experienced inspector for a specific period of time.

Background required

Inspectors in the OHSA need to hold a Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety issued by the University of Malta.

Officials performing duties relating to employment contracts and conditions of employment regularly attend seminars concerning laws and are also given in-house training including training on the job.

Visits and functions

Types of visits

Inspection visits can be planned (proactive visits) but are also performed as a consequence of a complaint, after an accident or request for intervention (reactive). Employers are normally informed of proactive inspection visits.

Role of preventive measures

The OHSA holds annual campaigns in order to disseminate a prevention culture in different sectors of economy. The OHSA also disseminates information on the evaluation of risks and their control as well as delivering trainings to increase the level of awareness regarding the benefits of adequate health and safety levels.

Registries and reporting of accidents/diseases at work

Accidents and injuries must be notified to the OHSA within 7 days. Notification forms are available in the OHSA website.

Sanction and administrative processes

Inspectors may institute proceedings in case of infringements but these are a last resort and not frequently used. Inspectors may issue an oral notice or recommendation to encourage the employer to correct any breaches found. Inspectors can also issue written orders or warnings.

Social dialogue and labour inspection

Since 2008, the OHSA has a tripartite board.

ILO Conventions ratified

Malta ratified Convention No. 81 in 1965 and Convention No. 129 in 1988.