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‘University of Malta building fails to comply with safety standards’

Emergency Exit leading to a construction zone.

One of the buildings housing the Faculty of Science at the University of Malta failed to comply with safety standards according to a geohazard assessment presented to the Rector by one of the faculty’s students.

It found Building 29 was “dangerous and unsafe,” for students and staff, having no emergency exits. These were either blocked off or leading to construction zones in the university building. This failed international, European and national health and safety standards.

The report compiled by Christopher Dimech states that all individuals that access the premises have the right to do so in conditions that do not pose a risk of harm, injury, or death. The report called on the University Rector to address this failure.

The assessment found that the failure of adequate emergency exits would result in crowding, insufficient evacuation times, and individuals having to move to high hazard areas in case of difficulty.

Furthermore, exit routes have not been maintained and are considered extremely dangerous. Others have been padlocked or even walled up in violation of local and international building codes and standards.

Other criticisms include badly lit exits, emergency exit doors that are not level and do not open properly, if they open at all, and makeshift staircases that could result in injury.

Attention was also drawn to an area of excavation next to the Department of Pharmacy that the assessment defined as “extremely hazardous region” where workers are also exposed to risk.

Dimech said the building should be evacuated until the risks were addressed, saying the University lacked a consistent structured approach for identifying hazards and assessing risks”.

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