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LCQ18:Promotional activities launched for Safety Management System

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Following is a question by the Hon. Leung Fu-wah and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mrs Fanny Law, in the Legislative Council today (June 20):

Question :

On November 24 1999, the Legislative Council resolved to approve the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Safety Management) Regulation (Cap. 59, sub. Leg.) made by the Commissioner of Labour. The Regulation makes provisions regarding a safety management system for implementation in designated industrial undertakings, but its main provisions have yet to come into effect. Regarding the implementation of the safety management system, will the Government inform this Council of:

(a) the reasons for not having set a commencement date for the main provisions of the Regulation;

(b) the progress in implementing the safety management system; and

(c) the present position regarding the adoption of the 14 elements of safety management system by the contractors and proprietors of the designated industrial undertakings?

Reply :

Madam President,

(a) The Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Safety Management) Regulation (the Regulation) requires proprietors and contractors to:

(i) implement a safety management system and conduct basic safety reviews in construction sites, shipyards, factories and "designated undertakings" (Note 1) (the relevant industrial undertakings) in which 50 to 99 persons are employed;

(ii) implement a safety management system and conduct detailed safety audits in relevant industrial undertakings in which 100 or more persons are employed.

The Regulation also requires safety auditors who conduct safety audits for relevant industrial undertakings and operators of training schemes for safety auditors be registered.

The Regulation was enacted by the Legislative Council on November 24 1999. Since then, Labour Department has launched a series of promotional activities for the proprietors and contractors concerned. Provisions relating to the registration of safety auditors and operators of training schemes have also come into effect in June 2000 in order to prepare for the full implementation of the Regulation. The Administration has yet to implement the other provisions because:

(i) the industries have reflected to the Administration that safety management system is a new concept in Hong Kong and the proprietors and contractors concerned need more time to prepare;

(ii) we need to ensure that adequate number of registered safety auditors are available to meet the market demand.

As at June 18 2001, 245 safety auditors have registered with Labour Department. The relevant industrial undertakings have been given considerable time to make preparations. According to the current progress in approving safety auditors, we believe that the Regulation should be able to come into full effect by the end of this year.

(b) Since the enactment of the Regulation, Labour Department has launched a series of promotional activities to enable the proprietors and contractors concerned to clearly understand the requirements under the Regulation and to assist them in devising safety management systems. As at May 2001, Labour Department has:

(i) conducted 89 roving exhibitions in the relevant industrial undertakings and shopping centres, during which more than 23,000 promotional publications were distributed;

(ii) organised 76 talks, 15 seminars and 198 training courses, in which more than 12,000 persons attended;

(iii) issued letters to the relevant industrial undertakings and conducted 6,048 promotional visits to brief the proprietors and contractors concerned on the requirements under the Regulation.

(c) The Regulation requires proprietors and contractors concerned to adopt 14 elements of safety management system (see Annex) to provide the framework for safety management and assist the relevant industrial undertakings in achieving self-regulation through devising safety management systems. As safety management system is a new concep, proprietors and contractors of the relevant industrial undertakings would need time to adapt to the concept and implement the elements step by step. During the initial period of implementation, proprietors and contractors concerned will be required to implement 8 to 10 elements of safety management. The Administration will review in due course the progress of, and experience in, the implementation of the Regulation, before considering further implementation of the remaining 4 elements.

Although the Regulation has yet to come into full effect, Occupational Safety Officers of Labour Department have, during their inspections, observed that the majority of the larger relevant industrial undertakings have already implemented a safety management and can generally meet the requirements under the Regulation. Smaller establishments have also implemented some of the elements of safety management. Occupational Safety Officers will continue to advise the proprietors and contractors concerned, during inspections and promotional activities, to implement as soon as possible the elements of safety management as required by the Regulation.

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Annex

14 Elements of Safety Management System

1. A safety policy which states the commitment of the proprietor or contractor to safety and health at work.

2. A structure to assure implementation of the commitment to safety and health at work.

3. Training to equip personnel with knowledge to work safely and without risk to health.

4. In-house safety rules to provide instruction for achieving safety management objectives.

5. A programme of inspection to identify hazardous conditions and for the rectification of any such conditions at regular intervals or as appropriate.

6. A programme to identify hazardous exposure or the risk of such exposure to the workers and to provide suitable personal protective equipment as a last resort where engineering control methods are not feasible.

7. Investigation of accidents or incidents to find out the cause of any accident or incident and to develop prompt arrangements to prevent recurrence.

8. Emergency preparedness to develop, communicate and execute plans prescribing the effective management of emergency situation.

9. Evaluation, selection and control of sub-contractors to ensure that sub-contractors are fully aware of their safety obligations and are in fact meeting them.

10. Safety committees.

11. Evaluation of job related hazards or potential hazards and development of safety procedures.

12. Promotion, development and maintenance of safety and health awareness in a workplace.

13. A programme for accident control and elimination of hazards before exposing workers to any adverse work environment.

14. A programme to protect workers from occupational health hazards.

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Note 1:

Under section 2 of the Regulation, "designated undertaking" means an industrial undertaking involving any of the following activities -

(a) the generation, transformation and transmission of electricity;

(b) the generation and transmission of town gas, or liquefied petroleum gas, within the meaning of section 2 of the Gas Safety Ordinance; or

(c) container handling.

End/Wednesday, June 20, 2001

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