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New legislation to enhance lift and escalator safety (with video)

     A Development Bureau spokesman said today (April 21) that the Lifts and Escalators Bill (the Bill), which was gazetted today, would further enhance lift and escalator safety in Hong Kong.

     The Bill contains a series of enhancement measures on the regulation of lift and escalator engineers, contractors and workers.  It will replace the existing Lifts and Escalators (Safety) Ordinance (Chapter 327) (LESO).

     Under the enhanced registration regime, the Bill will require all engineering professionals in the industry to be registered professional engineers of relevant disciplines with at least two years' experience before they can be considered for registration as lift or escalator engineers.

     The Bill will introduce a registration system whereby qualified lift or escalator workers may apply for registration as registered lift or escalator workers based on their academic attainment, training and experience.

     As for lifts and escalators contractors, the Bill will introduce a five-year registration renewal system to provide a mechanism for continual compliance checking.

     In addition to the new measures above to strengthen the registration regime, the Bill will increase penalties for safety-related offences from $10,000 to $200,000 to achieve a greater punitive and deterrent effect.

     The Bill will also extend coverage of the legislation to the Government and the Housing Authority, and extend lift or escalator owners' obligations and responsibilities to other persons involved in the management or control of lifts or escalators. Measures will also be introduced to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness in enforcing the regulatory measures.

     "There were more than 57,500 lifts in Hong Kong. From 2006 to 2010, there were 173 cases of mechanical malfunctioning related to lifts, causing injury to over 20 people.

     "Following several lift incidents that have given rise to public concern, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department has adopted various measures to improve lift safety. These include the enhancement of the existing code of practice, disclosure of contractors' performance, stepping up inspections and enhancing publicity," said the spokesman.

     "We have at the same time conducted a comprehensive review of the LESO, which was enacted in 1960.  Notwithstanding that a number of amendments have been made to the LESO over the years, there is scope for strengthening the regulatory regime under the LESO.

     "After due consultation with the industry as well as workers' representatives and relevant discussion at the Legislative Council Panel on Development, we have drawn up the necessary proposals, which are now contained in a new Bill to replace the existing LESO," the spokesman added.

     The Secretary for Development will introduce the Lifts and Escalators Bill into the Legislative Council on May 11. The Legislative Council brief on the Bill is available at Development Bureau's website

Ends/Thursday, April 21, 2011
Issued at HKT 16:57


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