Following is the speech by the Permanent Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works (Works), Mr Lo Yiu-ching, at the Considerate Contractors Site Award Scheme 2003 Award Presentation Ceremony today (March 24).
Distinguished guests, ladies & gentlemen,
I would like to welcome you all to this Award Presentation Ceremony for the Considerate Contractors Site Award Scheme 2003.
We organise this event each year to encourage the contractors to work in a safe, environmentally responsible and considerate manner, and to give recognition to those with outstanding performance
When the scheme was first introduced in 1995, the safety performance of the construction industry was not entirely satisfactory. The accident rate of the construction industry for that year was rather high, at 233 accidents per thousand workers, and the number of fatalities was 63. It was against this background that we launched this scheme.
Over the years, we have introduced many initiatives to improve our site safety performance, such as the Pay for Safety Scheme, the Independent Safety Audit Scheme and the practice of Site Safety Cycle.
With the concerted effort from all of us, I am pleased to inform you that the accident rate for the public works contracts has dropped significantly by two-third over the last five years, from 56 accidents per thousand workers in 1999 to just 19 in 2003. The construction industry also recorded similar reduction in accident rates, from 248 in 1998 to 85 in 2002. In addition, the number of fatalities had dropped by nearly 60%, from 56 in 1999 to 24 in 2002. I am sure that these improvements are the direct result of our joint efforts in promoting site safety for the construction industry.
While we are happy with the improvement made, there is no room for complacency and we must continue to strive to better our performance. Our target is to lower the accident rate further to a level comparable with that of the developed countries.
No doubt, maintaining a construction site clean and tidy with good housekeeping will prevent accidents. This has been proven true in Japan and other developed countries. Indeed, a clean and tidy site has many benefits, such as increased productivity, improved efficiency and better team spirit. We firmly believe that a clean and tidy site is a "win-win" case for all. We have therefore introduced a "Site Cleanliness and Tidiness Grand Award" this year to commend contractors with outstanding performance in this aspect.
Apart from site safety, we are also keen and mindful to improve our environmental performance. Firstly, we have revised our specification on waste management to minimise waste generation on construction sites. Secondly, we have expanded the "Pay for Safety Scheme" to "Pay for Safety and Environment Scheme". Furthermore, we shall introduce an "Outstanding Waste Management Performance Grand Award" next year to encourage contractors to develop innovative ideas and effective measures on waste management.
Since the launch of the scheme, the number of participant sites has been ever increasing. This year, we have a total of 134 entries competing under the scheme, including 68 public works sites and 66 non-public works sites.
I must emphasise that it is not easy to win an award under the scheme. Apart from having good site performance, the contractor of the winning site should also be free from convictions and summons throughout the entire 12-month appraisal period.
All the winning sites are praiseworthy, with consistently good performance. I therefore would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the winning contractors and the construction workers for their effort and hard work. They should all be proud of their achievements.
May I also commend the other stakeholders of the winning sites, including developers, consultants, architects and engineers for their contribution.
Finally, I would like to thank members of the assessment panels and colleagues in the Works Departments and my bureau for their contribution and hard work in making the scheme a resounding success.
Thank you for your attention.
Ends/Wednesday, March 24, 2004