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Labour Department promotes use of cooling vest to reduce workers' heat stroke risk

     The Labour Department, in conjunction with the Occupational Safety and Health Council (OSHC), is launching the Cooling Vest Promotion Pilot Scheme this summer to reduce the risk of heat stroke at work. The scheme will test the feasibility of using cooling vests in four selected fields involving work in a hot environment, namely construction, outdoor cleaning and horticulture, kitchen work and work involved manual handling at the airport.

     The Commissioner for Labour, Mr Cheuk Wing Hing, attended the Cooling Vest Promotion Pilot Scheme cum Construction Site Safety Promotion today (June 28) and complimented workers participating in the scheme with the cooling vests.

     Officiating at the launch ceremony, Mr Cheuk thanked the participating organisations. He said, "The 195 participating organisations assist in testing the feasibility of using cooling vests and related measures, such as refrigeration and storage of cooling packs, as well as cleaning and maintenance of cooling vests, under the various working conditions in their industries."

     With the installation of two small fans on both sides and cooling packs, which are replaceable and reusable, the cooling vest enhances sweat evaporation through an airflow blown through the vest and helps cool down the body. This can minimise the risk of heat stroke, especially for those who work outdoor or in a hot indoor environment.

     "The Labour Department started special enforcement operations in April this year, targeting workplaces with a higher risk of heat stroke such as construction sites, outdoor cleaning work and container yards. The Department also organises occupational health talks on prevention of heat stroke for employers and employees. We will continue collaborating with the OSHC, related trade associations, contractors and trade unions, through promotion and publicity activities, to remind employers, employees and professional drivers to step up preventive measures against heat stroke," Mr Cheuk said.

     "As for the construction industry, the Construction Industry Council has recently issued a new guideline, which includes a recommendation of an extra 15-minute break for construction workers in the mornings between May and September to minimise the risk of heat stroke in hot weather. Related government departments will include the recommendation in the contract terms of government construction projects," he added.

     Mr Cheuk urged employers to assess the risk of heat stroke for their employees and adopt effective preventive measures such as formulating safety plans and construction methods, providing cool drinking water, setting up temporary sunshade and providing mechanical aids to reduce physical exertion of employees. He also reminded employees to drink water regularly and be mindful of their physical condition. If early heat stroke symptoms such as headache and thirst appear, they should inform their supervisors and seek medical help immediately.

     Other guests attending today's event were the Chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Council, Mr Conrad Wong; Vice Chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Council, Dr Alan Chan; Deputy Director of Housing, Ms Ada Fung; President of the Hong Kong Association of Property Management Companies, Mr Alkin Kwong; and Chairman of the Hong Kong Construction Industry Employees General Union, Mr Chow Luen-kiu.

Ends/Friday, June 28, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:35


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