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LCQ17: Training of security personnel

     Following is a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose S K Lee, to a question by the Dr Hon Pan Pey-chyou in the Legislative Council today (March 21):


     A security guard was killed in an incident which occurred in Choi Yuen Estate in Sheung Shui earlier involving a person with mental illness assaulting a security guard of the estate.  The incident caused quite a number of frontline security guards to worry that in the absence of adequate defencive gear and training, they might be subject to assaults anytime at work. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether the Labour Department ("LD") had implemented relevant measures and organised activities in the past five years to increase the awareness of security guards about their personal and occupational safety at work, especially when dealing with violence and entering premises or properties to handle complaints, etc.; if it had, of the details, including the specific contents and the numbers of participants of the activities; if not, the reasons for that;

(b) of the respective numbers of cases involving security guards of buildings being assaulted at work received by the Police and LD in the past five years, as well as the casualties of security guards in such cases;

(c) given that security guards have to face unexpected and even life-threatening incidents at work, whether the authorities will consider, when issuing licences to security companies engaged in security work type I (i.e. provision of security guarding services), requiring them to make available adequate defencive gear, including batons and shields, etc., at workplaces for security guards to bring with them such gear when entering premises or properties to handle incidents and patrolling, so that they can protect themselves in case of emergency; if not, of the reasons for that;

(d) whether it knows if the topic of the handling of emergencies is included in all existing basic training and courses provided to security guards or people who wish to join the trade; if it is included, of the number of hours of the relevant sessions, and whether it covers the handling of violence and crises in life-threatening situations;

(e) whether it knows if the current trade test for security guards recognised by the Security and Guarding Services Industry Authority assesses the applicants' ability to deal with incidents involving violence and people with mental illness, or their strategy in facing threats to their lives; if so, of the weighting for such assessment in the test; if not, whether the authorities will consider making it mandatory to include the relevant assessment contents in the test so as to conduct a thorough assessment on security guards; and

(f) of the plans the authorities have in the future to enhance the occupational safety of frontline security guards, particularly in respect of their safety and response during emergencies such as incidents involving violence and people with mental illness?



(a) According to information provided by the Labour Department ("LD"), the Occupational Safety and Health Council ("OSHC") regularly organises a "Certificate Course on Occupational Safety and Health Knowledge for Property Management", which provides training for employees in the security and property management sectors with a view to enhancing their occupational safety knowledge, including ways to cope with violent incidents.  OSHC also offers on a regular basis the "Course on Conflict Management" to equip supervisors and staff responsible for handling conflict with the knowledge, strategy as well as skills to prevent and deal with violence.

     Moreover, OSHC published a "Safety Guidebook for Property Management" which covers the points-to-note in dealing with workplace violence and working alone.  OSHC also published a booklet on the "Prevention of Violence at Work", introducing to people who may face violence in their work the contributing factors leading to the occurrence of violent incidents, ways to handle such situations, as well as the support and training provided to staff members.

(b) From 2007 to February 2012, there were two fatalities of security personnel due to workplace violence, one in 2009 and another in 2012.  LD does not compile a breakdown of the occupational injuries by occupation (including security personnel) and the Police do not maintain specific statistics of criminal assaults involving security personnel.

(c) Under the Security and Guarding Services Ordinance (Cap. 460), only a company acting under a licence can supply security work.  Security work is categorised into three types, namely Type I security work for provision of security guarding services, Type II security work for provision of armoured transportation services, and Type III security work for installation, maintenance and/or repairing of a security device and/or designing (for any particular premises or place) a security system incorporating a security device.  Companies holding Type I Security Company Licences provide different types of security and guarding services in different places, including single residential buildings, commercial premises, private clubs, housing estates, shopping malls and car parks, etc., and the equipment supplied by individual company may also vary according to the special requirements of different venues.  As such, the Security and Guarding Services Industry Authority ("SGSIA") and the Police have all along scrutinised the equipment requirement of each company according to the nature of its security work.

(d) and (e) In order to maintain the quality of security guarding services, company with Type I Security Company Licence must arrange training for all of its security personnel employed or arrange for all of its security personnel employed to undergo an "Initial Basic Training Course" of not less than 16 hours that has been accepted by SGSIA under the Quality Assurance System for the Recognition Scheme ("QASRS") (except when the security personnel has already undergone a training course accepted by SGSIA in the last five years).  The "Initial Basic Training Course" encompasses nine different themes, including themes on "Handling of Emergencies" and "Occupational Safety and Health", which especially explain to security personnel on how to seek assistance in case of emergency, take appropriate steps according to contingency plans to cope with different types of emergencies, and understand the potential dangers at workplaces, etc.

     QASRS also sets the proportion of questions for end-of-course assessment. Among the 50 questions on topics included in the "Initial Basic Training Course", 14 questions should cover the two themes on "Handling of Emergencies" and "Occupational Safety and Health".  

(f) In order to strengthen the skills of employees in the security and property management sectors in handling violent incidents, LD will remind the security and property management sectors to conduct risk assessment for situations under which violence may occur in their workplaces and formulate relevant safety guidelines for their employees.  They should also take into account the actual operational situation and provide employees with appropriate training and protective equipment for reducing the associated risks at work and avoiding occurrence of accidents.  OSHC will also organise seminars on the strategy and measures to prevent workplace violence in the security and property management sectors.  The first seminar was held in March 2012 with over 200 participants.  OSHC will continue to organise similar seminars in the future to meet the industry's needs.

     SGSIA also holds consultative meetings with associations of security companies on a regular basis to keep them abreast of the needs and latest development of frontline security work, and to ensure that the "Initial Basic Training Course", the trade test and the conditions for issuing Security Company Licences and Security Personnel Permits reflect the requirements of the security and guarding services.

Ends/Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Issued at HKT 14:53


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