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Workplace safety urged before Chinese New Year holidays

     With Chinese New Year around the corner, the Labour Department urged contractors, employers and employees to be more vigilant and take adequate safety precautions before the holidays.

     A spokesperson for the department said today (January 27) that as the Chinese New Year is coming, workers might become less aware of safety because of the festive atmosphere, or they may have to rush to complete work before the holidays. Employers should therefore pay more attention to work safety and step up monitoring their workplaces to make sure that they are safe. Potential hazards inherent in the workplace could be eliminated through pre-holiday safety inspections, and thereby minimise the chance of grave consequences during and after the Chinese New Year holidays.

     "Safety precautions before stopping work for the holidays include measures to ensure that the power for all plant and machinery is turned off, chemicals are properly stored, materials are stacked in an orderly manner, naked flames are extinguished, gas welding equipment is shut down and temporary structures are secured," the spokesperson said.

     "The management should remind supervisors and workers not to compromise work safety for tight work schedules, such as failure to follow safety procedures, failure to use personal protective equipment, and so on. Risk assessment should be conducted by competent persons prior to the commencement of work involving high-risk operations, such as working at height, lifting operations and electrical work. Accordingly, safe work method statements should be formulated with proper monitoring systems in place," the spokesperson added.

     The general duty provisions of the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance require contractors and employers to provide a safe working environment, safe plant and safe system of work for their employees. Failing to comply with this requirement could result in a maximum fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for six months.

     Meanwhile, employees should co-operate by following the safety instructions and by using safety equipment.

     For enquires on occupational safety and health, please contact the department's occupational safety officers at 2559 2297.

Ends/Monday, January 27, 2014
Issued at HKT 14:37


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