Government concerned about industrial accidents

¡@¡@The Government is very concerned about the recent spate of fatal construction accidents and will step up enforcement and publicity to prevent occurrence of similar accidents.

¡@¡@The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said this  tonight (April 25) at the ¡§World Day for Safety and Health at Work cum Occupational Safety and Health Seminar¡¨.

¡@¡@¡§A total of 478 convictions related to work accidents were recorded in the first quarter of this year, up 13.6% when compared with the 412 convictions in the same period of last year,¡¨ Mr Cheung said.

¡@¡@The Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance was passed in 1997 and implemented in 1998 to extend the promotion of occupational safety and health to various sectors. With the joint efforts of the Government, the Occupational Safety and Health Council, trade associations, employers and employees, there has been sustained and marked improvement in the performance of occupational safety and health in the past decade.

¡@¡@Mr Cheung said the accident rate per 1,000 construction workers in 1998 was 247.9, representing about one injury for every four workers. The figure dropped substantially by 70% to 60.6 in 2007, representing one injury for every 17 workers.

¡@¡@¡§Despite all the efforts, the construction sector still recorded the largest number of fatal industrial accidents which warrants serious attention and there is ample room for improvement,¡¨ he said.

¡@¡@Mr Cheung said the fatal construction accident in Cheung Sha Wan on Tuesday was a reminder of how industrial accidents could cause irreparable damage to the victims and family. Industrial accidents also have adverse effects on staff morale, work arrangements, the company¡¦s image, as well as economic efficiency and productivity of society.

¡@¡@¡§One single work accident is far too many. I would like to appeal to employers and employees once again to work together to raise occupational safety and health standards and move towards the target of ¡¥zero accidents¡¦,¡¨ he said.

¡@¡@Last but not least, Mr Cheung thanked the Legislative Council members of the Labour Functional Constituency, employee members of the Labour Advisory Board, and the Occupational Safety and Health Council for organising the event and for working hand in hand with the Government over the years to promote occupational safety and health legislation, public education and labour relations.

Ends/Friday, April 25, 2008
Issued at HKT 20:30