Devolving safety exclusively to those working in the workplace and control to the various supervisory bodies cannot be described as a complete process given the results achieved over the last ten years. In fact, the number of accidents and deaths at work would not correspond to a proportionate number of related judgments, this was reported at a hearing in the Senate on 19 October 2021.
This is not a criticism, given that progress has been made compared to the past when there was not even a single text regulating tools, procedures, and establishing the relevant safety courses. Today, however, there is a new awareness: ‘We can do more’.
The input came on 17 December 2020 with draft law no. 2052 containing ‘provisions on the coordination of investigations in proceedings for offences relating to health and safety in the workplace’.
A new organisational model of jurisdiction, i.e. the distribution of magistrates in specialised pools, which would allow much more positive results. But not only that, considering also the investigation process, a centralisation of all the data that are collected and analysed has been proposed, as well as a more advanced method of investigation throughout the country, thus remedying ‘the current fragmentation of investigations into similar situations occurring on the national territory’ (source: senate hearing 17/10/2021)- moreover – ‘a national public prosecutor’s office could represent an indispensable point of reference for the many supervisory bodies operating in Italy’.
In the text of draft law no. 2052, further reasons can be found: “The proposal for the establishment of a national public prosecutor’s office for labour matters arises, therefore, from the ascertainment of the current inefficiency of the judicial system in relation to the unsatisfactory level of application of a regulation – the accident prevention regulation – which, as it is known, originates from the European discipline and is therefore substantially uniform in all the countries of the Union and is an issue of great importance. It is part of a more general issue, which is to ensure a higher level of professionalism and specialisation of magistrates dealing with problems of health and safety at work, in order to improve and make more satisfactory the approach of investigators in the prevention and repression of violations in the field of accident prevention, an issue that is now more important than ever following the emergency pandemic from COVID-19, which has affected the entire international community and our country’.
A reference point will be set up to coordinate activities, namely the ‘National Labour Prosecutor’. In fact, in the text of the bill n.2052 and precisely in Article 2, paragraph 2, it is explained that “The Directorate is headed by a magistrate who has obtained the seventh evaluation of professionalism, chosen, also in derogation to the ordinary period of legitimacy to transfer, among those who have carried out, also not continuously, for a period of not less than eight years, judicial functions or public prosecutor’s office, on the basis of specific aptitudes, organizational skills and experience in the handling of proceedings relative to the regulations in matters of hygiene and safety in the workplace and criminal protection of work”.
Among the main tasks, the prosecutor will have to ensure investigative liaison, respond to specific investigative or procedural needs. He will also give instructions to the district prosecutors concerned in order to resolve disagreements on investigative activities. These are only some of his tasks.
There are many points that are being addressed, all with a view to improving the current situation, which is currently under consideration by the committee.
Approval times are being slowed down in view of the other decrees, but the possibility of approval and conversion into law by spring seems plausible.
We reproduce the full text for consultation.