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SLW shares views on safety measures at annual construction conference

     The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, shared with the construction industry his views on the safety measures introduced by the Government and all parties concerned in recent years to improve construction safety at the Hong Kong Construction Association's Annual Safety Conference this (August 29) afternoon.

     Mr Cheung said that work safety at construction sites had improved significantly in the past decade through the collective commitment and efforts of all stakeholders, including the Government, employers, employees, trade associations, workers' unions, training providers, professional bodies and other related organisations. Property developers and project clients had also played a significant role in promoting work safety and health.           

     He said, "The Government, as the client of public works and housing projects, is determined to ensure that its contractors maintain a high standard of work safety. Hence, the 'Pay for Safety Scheme' has been introduced to prevent site safety from being compromised due to competitive tendering.  

     "Under the scheme, contractors are required to include in the tender the necessary safety-related items. These items will be separately paid for by the Government if the contractors have carried them out satisfactorily.  Failure to do so will result in no payment. The safety performance of public works has improved markedly following the launching of the scheme.

     "Subsequently, some private sector developers have also launched similar schemes on their own to improve construction safety in private projects. The idea of encouraging contractors to initiate safety practices and measures should indeed be further promoted in the sector," he said.     

     Mr Cheung pointed out that the "Pay for Safety Scheme" is not the only way for property developers and project clients to take part in work safety management. Some corporations have also brought in other effective measures such as demerit point systems, fostering safety culture among contractors, blacklisting contractors with poor safety performance, and giving adequate incentives.

     Moreover, the Construction Association and the Construction Council had achieved much in raising the safety standards of the industry by taking part in the formulation and implementation of policies, helping in the drafting of safety guidelines, organising safety training courses, and uniting the efforts of all stakeholders in promoting work safety standards through various means.

     "I would like to extend my gratitude to the Construction Association for organising the safety conference today. The theme of the conference, 'Safety Responsibility - The Way Forward', not only reminded us that safeguarding work safety and health is everybody's responsibility, but also urged participants to ruminate over how best to redouble our efforts to improve work safety of the construction industry.

     "The construction sector is a key industry in bolstering Hong Kong's economic development. Although we have seen sustained and marked improvement in its safety performance in recent years, I hope that the Government and all stakeholders will continue to work together to make further progress in promoting work safety and health in the construction industry," Mr Cheung said.

Ends/Friday, August 29, 2008
Issued at HKT 14:30


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