Wasteserv officials charged over horrific workplace accident

13 individuals have been charged over an incident in which a technician was trapped in a machine in 2017, losing his legs as a result

The foreign technician was trapped in machinery at the Gozo Wasteserv plant
The foreign technician was trapped in machinery at the Gozo Wasteserv plant

A court in Gozo has heard how an Italian repairman had both his legs amputated after a horrific workplace accident at the Wasteserv plant in Gozo.

Earlier today in Gozo, Magistrate Joe Mifsud presided the criminal case against Wasteserv directors Vincent Bonello, 80, David J. Borg, 49, Iris Camilleri Mifsud, 68, Frederick Cutajar, 69, Emanuel Magri, 65 and Michael Sant, 71, CEO Antonio Montebello, 46, plant manager Charlon Buttigieg, 32, manager Kirsty Zarb, 34, safety officer Stefan Carmel Sultana, 39 and Ing. Andrea Brincat, 36.

Two directors of J.F. Services Ltd, Matthew and Peter Formosa were also jointly charged.

All thirteen individuals were charged upon a complaint by the Occupational Health and Safety Authority over the incident that was allegedly caused through negligence or non-observance of regulations.

They were also charged a number of health and safety breaches.

All pleaded not guilty.

Inspector Bernard Spiteri testified about the incident in 2017 in which Ettore Altamura was grievously injured whilst repairing a perforating machine at the plant.

The machine had somehow started whilst Altamura was inside it, carrying out repairs. Altamura was trapped and suffered a double amputation of his lower limbs as a result, the court was told.

Cross-examined by lawyer Stefano Filletti, the inspector confirmed that the machine had been supplied by a foreign manufacturer and that Altamura had been sent by the manufacturing company to repair the fault. Asked by the court, he said that Altamura was not an employee of Wasteserv.

Answering questions from lawyer Gavin Gulia the inspector further confirmed that the machinery was supplied by the manufacturer through a joint venture involving a local company.

The case continues on May 31.

Inspector Bernard Spiteri is prosecuting. Lawyer David Salina appeared for the Occupational Health and Safety Authority.
Lawyers Stephen Tonna Lowell, Stefano Filletti, Nicole Galea, Arthur Azzopardi, Gavin Gulia, Charlon Gouder, Matthew Paris, Nathalino Debrincat and Alex Scerri Herrera are appearing for the defendants.

Lawyers Marc Sant and Anne-Marie Cutajar were defence counsel.