and Works at Considerate Contractors Site Award
Scheme presentation ceremony
The following is the speech by the Secretary for Environment, Transport and Works, Dr Sarah Liao, at the 2004 Award Presentation Ceremony of Considerate Contractors Site Award Scheme this afternoon¡]March 18)¡]English only):
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
I wish to welcome you all to this Award Presentation Ceremony for the Considerate Contractors Site Award Scheme 2004.
Each year, we organise this event to encourage contractors to work in a safe, environmentally responsible and considerate manner, and to give recognition to those with outstanding performance.
A safe and healthy workplace cannot be created overnight. It has to undergo a long process that calls for time and resources contributed by all relevant parties. The past few years have seen a sustained and marked improvement in Hong Kong's occupational safety and health performance.
One remarkable achievement in relation to construction safety is the decrease in the accident rates in the past years. I am glad to see that the accident rate of the construction industry for 2004 would likely be less than 60 accidents per thousand workers. When compared to 198 accidents per thousand workers in 1999, it represents a reduction of some 70% over the past five years. Nevertheless, we should not be complacent about the improvement made but should continue to strive for better performance. Our target is to lower the accident rate further to a level comparable to the elite of the developed countries.
It is not an easy task for the contractor to obtain an award under the Scheme since his performance after participation in the Scheme will be monitored regularly and assessed throughout the whole appraisal period of one year. For the year 2004, out of the 142 sites participating in the Scheme, 46 of them received Considerate Contractors Site Awards, including 21 from public works projects and 25 from non-public works sector projects. We are very fair. Let me extend my heartiest congratulations to all the winners for their good work.
Over the years, we have continuously promoted our good site safety practices. In 2003, we introduced the Site Cleanliness and Tidiness Grand Awards. We believe site cleanliness and good housekeeping are some of the crucial elements in improving site safety and environmental performance. A clean and tidy site is not only enhances safety, but also it will increase productivity, efficiency and team spirit.
I am glad to see that this campaign has been widely accepted and adopted by many contractors in creating a working environment that is clean and tidy as well as safe and comfortable not only in the construction site area but also in the surrounding area of the site. In this connection, I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate the winners of the Site Cleanliness and Tidiness Grand Awards for their outstanding achievements.
As a new initiative, we introduced in 2004 the Outstanding Waste Management Performance Grand Awards. As you all know, Hong Kong is facing a big challenge in accommodating construction and demolition (C&D) materials arising from construction activities following the suspension of almost all reclamation projects. Furthermore, about 40% of the materials disposed of at the landfills is actually C&D material, which has imposed a heavy burden on the diminishing capacity of our landfill sites.
The Government has been taking the lead in minimising C&D material at source. Since 2002, we have strengthened the requirement in the public works projects to ensure that solid steps are taken at the early planning stage of any project to minimise the generation of C&D material. We further enhanced the waste management plan and its implementation in public works contracts in 2003 through the initiative "Pay for Safety and Environment Scheme". Last year, we amended the material specification to promote the wider use of concrete paving units made of recycle aggregates in our public works. The message is clear: "We are committed to reducing the generation of C&D material from public works."
Having all these measures and initiatives in place, I am glad to tell you that we have achieved a noticeable decrease in the amount of construction waste generated from our building works. For completed building works projects which commenced in 2002, the amount of construction waste has dropped by 40% compared with those which commenced in 2001.
Similar results have also been achieved for site formation projects. Before 2002, only about one-third of the major site formation projects could achieve the level of keeping the excavated materials to be disposed of to less than 50,000 cubic metres per hectare of land formed. After strengthening the minimisation of excavation material in 2002, over 80% of the major site formation projects could achieve this low level of excavated material generation.
With regard to private sector projects, we are pleased to see that many clients, contractors and stakeholders have joined hands and taken the initiative to reduce C&D material at their sites. The Working Group on Construction Waste formed under the Provisional Construction Industry Co-ordination Board has been working closely with the industry to identify and promote good practices in waste management. Furthermore, the construction waste disposal charging scheme will be put into operation this year, which will provide an economic incentive to encourage the construction industry to minimise the generation of C&D materials in the long run.
To keep the momentum in reducing the generation of C&D materials at construction sites, this afternoon my Permanent Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works (Works), Mr YC Lo will officiate at a signing ceremony of the Waste Management Charter. The signing of the Charter is to signify the high-level commitment to reducing waste. We welcome the industry to join us to show your commitment to the community in construction waste reduction.
Finally, I would like to thank all clients, developers, consultants, architects, engineers, and their staff for their active participation in the Scheme. I would also like to thank the members of the Judging Panels and my colleagues in the works departments and the bureau for their valuable time in this mission. And not to forget about the Director of Environment Protection who also plays a key role in this scheme.
Last but not the least, I thank you all for joining this award ceremony.
Ends/Friday, March 18, 2005