LESS money is to be spent on ensuring health and safety at work and on employee training next year, said the regional Ministry for Employment yesterday.

Minister Joana Barcelo, speaking at a session of the Balearic Parliament's Budget Committee pointed to a 16.5 percent reduction in funding for workers' safety and a 27 percent downturn in money allocated to training.

Defending her budget of 104.5 million euros, Barcelo said that a major part of her department's resources will go to tackling unemployment in the Balearic Islands, and into providing “greater and more qualitative” employment opportunities.

The Minister said that nevertheless, she will still have 2.4 million euros to dedicate to employee health and safety. This will provide sufficient funding for a workplace accident prevention campaign staffed by 12 technicians. The campaign, adjusted to a school environment, will also be given a high profile in education centres where students will be taught about awareness of what accidents can happen in school and how to prevent them.

Separately, Barcelo is looking to develop a manifesto for the Balearic Institute for Health and Safety at Work and to create an official watchdog - an “observatory” which will register accidents and illness rates in places of employment. The combined powers of the Institute and the Observatory will give official government “elbow” for permanent investigation into risks faced by employees, and into how seasonal work is contracted. The Institute will “map out” high risk areas and what preventive measures can be taken. And not just physical risks will be considered. Changing pressures on employees also warrant studies into what psychological pressures they may face.

The Balearic Job Agency (SOIB) meanwhile, is being given a budget of 61.8 million euros next year, an increase of 2 percent to help create jobs.


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