Starting last Monday, 18 students from the “Augusto Righi” Istituto Tecnico Statale of Reggio Calabria have been at the construction sites for the Southern Route Section (Lotto Sud) of the Milan Outer Eastern Bypass learning about workplace safety. This work experience placement for these students specializing in “Construction, Environment and Territory” finished today with a special session on implementing the legality protocols included in the Expo dossier to combat the involvement of organized crime in tenders for major works.

The seminar took place in a LambroScarl classroom in Melegnano (Milan) and was led by the TE’s head of legality and safety, Alberto Palombarin, and by Jenni Bruzzise, LambroScarl’s coordinator for tender protocols. Aside from the children’s teacher, Leonardo Carbone, the session was also attended by the CEO of Tangenziale Esterna SpA, Stefano Maullu, and the Chairman and Technical Director of Impregilo (the firm heading up the companies building at TEEM’s Southern Route site), Enrico Zorgati.

This course at the Southern Route Section site has involved a daily combination of three hours of practical work with an hour of theory. This morning, before heading into the classroom, the students visited TEEM’s Casalmaiocco site (also in Lodi province), where they gained technical insight from the on-site staff into building a tunnel and the specific safety procedures adopted to construct the section in question.

Yet, the focal point of the day was the in-depth examination of the system of checks adopted by TE to manage tenders and to translate the theoretical legality protocols issued by the Prefectures involved in Expo infrastructure work into practice.

Righi vocational high school is clearly a jewel in the Italian educational system – a look at the prestigious awards it has won is evidence of this – and this opportunity gave the students a chance to see how the question of combating mafia infiltration fits into the broader theme of workplace safety. Indeed, it is this theme that ties together this officially recognized “work experience” course that will see them at various worksites for the Salerno-Reggio Calabria motorway for another week, starting 10 June. As the course under the tutelage of Mr Carbone is recognized by the Ministry for Education, Universities and Research, it also counts towards the students scholastic credits.

One of the 18 young people noted that “thanks to this seminar, I now know that safety in the workplace depends in part on compliance with regulations against the infiltration of tenders by organized crime. When building sites are ‘clean’, accidents remain few and far between; sub-tenders are also monitored, eliminating alarming phenomena such as off-the-books work”.

“This experience has been an important part of my school education,” added one of the girls. “It gave me a chance to combine theory and practice, improving my knowledge of workplace safety, especially in relation to legality protocols”.

“Our approach to teaching is to teach students about safety in the workplace and learn more about the relationship between major infrastructure works and the environment in which they are built,” explained Mr Carboni. “Thanks to this in-the-field experience on TEEM building sites, the students had a chance to learn about the different professional figures who work there and identify all of the potential dangers that must be averted by scrupulously applying applicable law and regulations”.

“It is essential that we remain constantly vigilant, monitoring all the companies that work at our sites every day, from small businesses to major sub-contractors,” explained Enrico Zorgati, the Chairman and Technical Director of Impregilo. “This is why the action we are taking is very rigid and why we are working hard on a ‘team’ approach with the various Prefectures and other entities and parties involved. Our goal is to ensure our building sites provide a safe working place for all workers with utmost legal compliance”.

“Recent investigations into the infiltration of organized crime in tenders for major and minor works currently underway in Lombardy have shown – over the last few days – that there is a resurgence of this problem that needs to be fought not only through increased efforts by the forces of law and order, but – especially – by making young people aware of the issue,” said TE’s CEO Stefano Maullu. “It is precisely with a view to training the future ‘sentries’ of civil society who will protect us against mafia involvement that TE, Impregilo and all the companies working on the Southern Route Section building sites have worked to provide these children with the basic information about the checks adopted by TE for managing tenders in compliance with the tender protocols adopted for Expo 2015″.