Spotlight on workplace safety in Italy amid wave of fatal accidents | Italy

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Two technicians are said to have suffocated to death in the basement of a university hospital near Milan amid a series of fatal work accidents in Italy.

The men, aged 46 and 42, were loading a tank of liquid nitrogen used to store medical samples when the crash happened Tuesday morning. Early investigations show that they may have suffocated before being frozen by the escaped liquid nitrogen, which is stored at temperatures below -196 ° C.

The men, one of whom had just started work and was undergoing training, worked for a liquid nitrogen transport company. Milan prosecutors have opened an investigation into a possible manslaughter.

Six other people have died in work-related accidents across Italy, including two workers who died from scaffolding, in what Italian media called “Black Tuesday”, while on Wednesday morning a man said was killed by a heavy vehicle while carrying out road works on a highway near Bari.

There were 677 workplace fatalities between January and July, according to Italian press reports, prompting unions to call for the swift implementation of stricter safety measures and an immediate shutdown companies that do not comply.

The issue entered political debate in May, when a 22-year-old woman died after becoming entangled in a rolling machine at a textile factory near Prato, Tuscany. She died a few days after Italy celebrated International Workers’ Day.

In February, a man was killed after being run over in a press at a textile factory, also in Tuscany.

Speaking in August, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said: “Among all the problems, there is one thing that is dear to all of us, especially to me, and that is to try to do something to improve the unacceptable situation. in terms of occupational safety.

Draghi said on Monday he had reached an agreement with the unions to tighten safety rules and hire thousands of new health and safety inspectors.

Luigi Sbarra, the secretary of the Cisl workers’ union, said the implementation of the measures should be speeded up. “Condolences and condemnation are not enough,” he added.

Recent victims of workplace accidents included a 39-year-old man who died after falling in a garage attic during restoration work on a property in Lecce, Puglia, a 48-year-old man who was run over at death by a machine in a factory in Florence, and another man, aged 54, who was crushed by slabs in a marble laboratory.

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