Train accident in Italy: avoidable deaths?
Five people have died in a train accident on the railway line between Milan and Turin, and several others are in hospital with serious injuries. A train without passengers ploughed into a group of maintenance workers whose company had been contracted to carry out work on the track on Wednesday night. Italy’s press points to flaws in the system.
Scrutinise the system
A proper investigation into the case would expose the pursuit of profit as the culprit, writes railway employee Dante De Angelis in Il Manifesto:
“In view of previous court cases dealing with similar accidents, I fear that only the human error of the last link in the chain of command is being sought, without the judiciary questioning the frequency and predictability of these deaths; without questioning the system by which contracts are awarded or the focus on profit. ... This is 2023, and we are surrounded by cutting-edge technologies. ... But as far as worker safety is concerned we haven’t got beyond the telephonic clearances and regulations of the last century.”
When safety is not part of the tender
La Repubblica sees the advocates of liberalisation as partially responsible for the tragedy:
“Yet another massacre of workers employed under a contract whose tender did not provide for effective coordination or prevention of the main risk faced by those who do maintenance work on the tracks at night: namely being run over by a train whose driver is not aware of the maintenance work. ... When contracts and subcontracts are liberalised willy-nilly and safety costs are squeezed, those who have pushed for liberalisation must assume responsibility for workers’ lives.”