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LCQ18: Occupational injuries and industrial accidents

    Following is a question by Dr Hon Kwok Ka-ki and a written reply by the Secretary for Economic Development and Labour, Mr Stephen Ip, in the Legislative Council today (June 14):


     It is reported that the Labour Department ("LD") closed the employment-related injury registration counters at accident and emergency departments of hospitals from 1990 and require people who suffer injuries to notify LD instead.  In 1992, LD also worked out a new compensation package with respect to minor employment-related injuries.  Under the new package, if a person suffers an injury in an industrial accident and has been granted sick leave of more than three days but not exceeding seven days, and does not suffer permanent incapacity as a result of the accident, he/she is not required to undergo any assessment arranged by LD.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) in respect of the past year, of the respective numbers of occupational injuries and industrial accidents and the respective injury rates per 1 000 employees and workers, as well as the method for calculating such rates, including the definitions of the units involved in the calculation, and the respective data for these units; and the changes in the calculation methods and definitions adopted before and after 1992 as well as the reasons for those changes;

(b) whether LD has reviewed the above-mentioned changes in 1990 and 1992 regarding the notification system for employment-related injuries, and how it will assess the effects of such changes on the compilation of statistics on minor injury cases and the overall industrial accidents;

(c) as LD used to publish various information on industrial accidents, including the sex of the injured and their distribution by industries, in its annual reports prior to 1992, of the reasons for LD not listing such information in its annual reports thereafter, together with details of the information involved; and

(d) whether LD has established a statistical database on industrial accidents, including the distribution of the types of companies and injury assessments involved; if it has, whether it will make the database accessible to the public and academics, and thoroughly study and analyse the causes and profiles of industrial accidents in Hong Kong every year?


Madam President,

(a) The occupational injuries and industrial accidents figures for 2005 are as follows -

    Table 1: Occupational injuries in 2005

    Fatal occupational injuries        187
    Non-fatal occupational injuries    44 080
    Total occupational injuries        44 267
    Injury rate per 1 000 employees    17.8

     Occupational injuries (including industrial accidents) are injury cases arising from work accidents, resulting in death or incapacity for work of over three consecutive days, and reported under the Employees' Compensation Ordinance.

    Injury rate per 1 000 employees is calculated as follows:

    Number of occupational injuries
   __________________________________________   x 1 000
   Persons engaged in all economic activities

    Table 2: Industrial accidents in 2005

    Fatal industrial accidents         29
    Non-fatal industrial accidents     16 888
    Total industrial accidents         16 917
   Accident rate per 1 000 workers     30.6

     Industrial accidents refer to injuries and deaths arising from industrial activities in industrial undertakings as defined under the Factories and Industrial Undertaking Ordinance.

     Accident rate per 1 000 workers is calculated as follows -

    Number of industrial accidents
  ________________________________________ x 1 000
    Persons engaged in relevant industries

    Persons engaged are based on the "Quarterly Report of Employment and Vacancies Statistics" published by the Census and Statistics Department.

    There has not been any change to the methodology for compiling work injury statistics since it was first adopted. The only exception is that, since 1 January 1998, LD has used the date of occurrence of an injury as the basis for computing work injury statistics instead of the date of reporting in order to reflect more accurately the number of work injuries occurring in the year.

(b) Under section 15 of the Employees' Compensation Ordinance (ECO), employers are required to notify the Commissioner for Labour of fatal and non-fatal work injuries within 7 days and 14 days respectively after the accidents.

    Prior to 1990, LD stationed clerical staff in the Accident and Emergency Department of major public hospitals during office hours to assist injured employees.  Such arrangement was discontinued in 1990.  Since then, LD has strengthened communication and cooperation with medical social workers of public hospitals in assisting needy injured employees.

    The ECO was amended in 1992 to allow an employer to enter into direct agreement with his injured employee on the compensation payable under the Ordinance if the work accident results in sick leave of more than three days but not exceeding seven days and without permanent loss of earning capacity.  Since employers are still required to report all work injuries to the Commissioner for Labour, these changes have not affected the reporting of work injuries or the compilation of accident statistics.

(c) The LD has adopted a new format for compiling the "Report of the Commissioner for Labour" since 1992 in order to put labour issues in a wider perspective against the overall economic and labour scene of Hong Kong.

    Under the new format, six work injury statistical tables were replaced by three new tables. Details are shown below:

   Tables deleted
   1. Comparison of accident figures for the past two years
   2. Reported number of injured employees by economic activity and cause
   3. Reported number of injured employees by sex, age group, nature of activity involved
      and cause
   4. Industrial accidents by economic activity and cause
   5. Industrial accidents by type of accident and cause
   6. Industrial accidents by type of accidents and industries
   Tables added
   1. Number of occupational accidents for the past five years
   2. Number of occupational accidents in major industries for the past five years
   3. Number of occupational accidents by cause for the past five years

(d) To enhance the efficiency and capability in compiling occupational safety and health statistics, LD acquired new computer equipment, developed new computer programmes and set up new database in 1998.  As the database contains a large amount of personal data, it is not suitable for the public to have access to it.

     Nonetheless, LD has uploaded all occupational safety and health statistics to the Department's homepage for reference by members of the public. These statistics include occupational injuries; industrial accidents; injury rate per 1 000 employees; accident rate per 1 000 workers; and statistics analysed by "Major Economic Activity" and "Type of Accident".

     In addition, LD publishes annually an "Occupational Safety and Health Statistics Bulletin" and releases the relevant accident statistics on the "Hong Kong Monthly Digest of Statistics" of the Census and Statistics Department on a quarterly basis.  

    For statistics on the number of direct agreements made between employers and injured employees and assessments of loss of earning capacity conducted for employees, they are available in the Department's Annual Report which is also uploaded to the Department's homepage.

Ends/Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Issued at HKT 15:15