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Speech by Permanent Secretary for Economic Development &
Labour at Occupational Safety Charter Signing Ceremony
(English only)

    Following is the speech by the Permanent Secretary for Economic Development and Labour (Labour), Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, at the Occupational Safety Charter Signing Ceremony of PCCW - HKT Limited today (September 29):

Mr Arena, Mr Lee, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
     It gives me great pleasure to join you here today at the Occupational Safety Charter Signing Ceremony of PCCW.  

     This is indeed a significant and memorable occasion.  It underlines the commitment that PCCW attaches to ensuring the safety and health at work of its employees.  It also demonstrates the company's determination to seek continuous improvement in this vitally important aspect of its corporate responsibility.

     The Occupational Safety Charter is not a legal document.  Yet it brings out the very important message that safety and health at work is a "Shared Responsibility" among employers, employees and the Government.  It also provides a safety management framework for employers and employees to work together to improve safety and health at work.

     The signing of the Charter signifies the commitment of the employer to provide its employees with a safe and healthy working environment, and of the employees to co-operate with their employer to ensure the safety of their own as well as of others.  On the part of the Government, we will continue to foster a safe and healthy working environment through the enactment and enforcement of legislation, supplemented by advice, training, education, publicity and promotion.  We have also been working closely and jointly with other stakeholders to achieve this important objective.  It is only through a spirit of co-operation and collaboration that we can create a safety culture that Hong Kong can be proud of.

     I am pleased to say that our concerted efforts are bearing fruit.  Over the past few years, we have seen sustained and impressive improvement in our safety performance, as evidenced by the downward trend in the number of work accidents as well as the accident rate.  In 1996, the year when we launched the Occupational Safety Charter, there were 59,465 occupational injuries and the injury rate per thousand employees was 23.6.  In 2004, the number of occupational injuries dropped to 44,025, and the injury rate was 18.1, representing a decrease of 26% and 23.1% respectively.  It is encouraging to note that the accident figure continued to decline in the first quarter of 2005.  The number of occupational injuries and injury rate dropped to 9,213 and 14.9, down 6.2% and 8.7% respectively on the same period of 2004.  

     This notable achievement is, no doubt, the result of the collective efforts of all the parties concerned.  However, there is no room for complacency.  Seeking continuous improvement in occupational safety and health must be an ongoing task for the Government, employers, employees as well as all relevant parties.

     PCCW is one of Asia's leading integrated communications companies.  Globally, the company employs approximately 12,000 staff.  In Hong Kong, PCCW provides a wide spectrum of communications services, including local telephony, broadband services and business solutions.

     While pursuing excellence in its business, PCCW also attaches great importance to its corporate social responsibility.  The company is firmly committed to protecting the occupational safety and health of its employees.  In this connection, PCCW has formulated a safety and health policy, and put in place well-structured safety organisations at both the business unit level and the corporate level.  It has also launched a wide range of safety initiatives, including conducting a comprehensive safety review, appointing the Occupational Safety and Health Council as an external occupational safety and health consultant, and developing a comprehensive safety plan, to name but a few.

     By subscribing to the Safety Charter with 21 business units and contractors today, PCCW has re-affirmed its commitment to occupational safety and health.  In so doing, you have set a shining example for others in the industry to follow.  May I take this opportunity to wish PCCW every success in implementing the Occupational Safety Charter.

     Thank you.

Ends/Thursday, September 29, 2005
Issued at HKT 15:10


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