Labour Department strives to enhance work safety of repair, maintenance, alteration and addition works

     In view of the spate of fatal accidents in repair, maintenance, alteration and addition (RMAA) works in recent months, the Labour Department (LD) today (January 12) reminded contractors of the requirements of ensuring that workers have taken all precautionary measures before commencement of work, especially for work processes involving work at a height, and that workers work safely.

     Among the 24 fatal industrial accidents in the construction industry last year (2013), 11 involved RMAA works and seven fall-from-height fatal accidents were related to erection or dismantling of bamboo scaffolds. Moreover, five construction workers fell to death from ladders or unsafe means of support last year. Common unsafe work practices are at Annex 1 to 4.

     LD reminds contractors that they should ensure that:
(1) workers have worn suitable safety harnesses that are attached to suitable anchorage (such as a fixed anchor, an independent lifeline or a fall arresting system), when carrying out scaffold erection/ dismantling works;
(2) each metal bracket of truss-out scaffolds is mounted onto the wall with at least three anchor bolts;
(3) workers are provided with safe means of support (including suitable working platforms on scaffolds) and workers should not use ladders or substandard working platforms (those without guard-rails, toe-boards, outriggers and access and egress), when carrying out work at a height.

     LD will launch a special enforcement operation before the Chinese New Year, targeting high-risk processes such as erection/dismantling of scaffolds and work-at-height with use of ladders or substandard working platforms. Upon discovery of unsafe work practices during the operation, enforcement officers of LD will issue suspension notices immediately to suspend the work processes concerned. Contractors are required to adopt suitable measures to eliminate the associated work risks to the satisfaction of LD before works can resume. For all breaches of law, LD will immediately issue improvement notices and initiate prosecutions without prior warning.

Ends/Sunday, January 12, 2014
Issued at HKT 11:01