Labour Department partners with construction industry to enhance work safety

     The Commissioner for Labour, Mr Cheuk Wing Hing, has called on relevant parties in the construction industry to stay alert to work safety and work together to enhance occupational safety and health performance in the industry.

     Speaking at the Construction Industry Safety Award Scheme award presentation ceremony cum fun day today (March 17), Mr Cheuk said that when the Scheme first launched in 1999 the accident toll in the construction industry was over 14 000, of which 47 fatalities were recorded and the accident rate per 1 000 workers was 198.4. In 2011, the accident toll had substantially dropped by 78 per cent to some 3 100, while the accident rate per 1 000 workers plunged 75 per cent to 49.7 and the number of fatalities decreased by 51 per cent to 23.

     Nevertheless, Mr Cheuk reminded the industry, "The commencement of various construction projects in recent years will generate more new work and the construction workforce is expected to grow. Hence, the construction industry will have to face major occupational safety and health challenges."

     Mr Cheuk continued, "In 2012, a total of 24 fatal accidents were recorded in construction sites, including 12 fall from height cases and seven cases related to electrical works, which together accounted for about 80 per cent of the total number of fatal accidents."

     The Labour Department (LD) is highly concerned about the above situation. Mr Cheuk said, "We further strengthened our law enforcement last year with the issue of about 890 prosecutions over the year for unsafe work-at-height situations, which represented a 32 per cent increase as compared with 2011. At the same time, over 1 200 suspension or improvement notices were issued, which represented an increase of 69 per cent over 2011."

     As regards electrical works safety, the LD conducted a special joint operation with the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department last year to curb malpractice in electrical works in construction sites. As a result, the LD initiated 48 prosecutions related to electrical hazards and issued 49 suspension or improvement notices.

     The LD will continue to strengthen law enforcement and, through different publicity and promotional channels, raise the safety alertness and awareness of the industry.

     This year marks the 14th anniversary of the Construction Industry Safety Award Scheme, which aims to raise the occupational safety and health awareness of contractors, site personnel and workers in the construction industry, as well as to honour, through an open competition, participants with outstanding occupational safety and health performance.

     The Construction Industry Safety Award Scheme is co-organised by the LD, the Occupational Safety and Health Council, the Development Bureau, the Hong Kong Housing Authority, the Occupational Deafness Compensation Board, the Construction Industry Council, the Pneumoconiosis Compensation Fund Board, the Hong Kong Housing Society, the Hong Kong Construction Association, the Hong Kong General Building Contractors Association, the Hong Kong Construction Sub-Contractors Association, the Hong Kong Federation of Electrical and Mechanical Contractors Limited, the Minor Works Contractor Association, the Hong Kong Association of Property Management Companies and the Hong Kong Construction Industry Employees General Union.

     The Chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Council, Mr Conrad Wong, and representatives of the co-organisers also officiated at the award presentation ceremony today.

     The award scheme's site safety competition recorded the entry of 188 sites, 54 sub-contractors and 145 safety teams this year.

Ends/Sunday, March 17, 2013
Issued at HKT 15:07