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SLW inspects construction safety of sea tunnel linking Tuen Mun with Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (with photos)

     The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, visited a construction site of one of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) related Hong Kong projects, the Tuen Mun - Chek Lap Kok Link (TM-CLKL) - Northern Connection Sub-sea Tunnel Section, today (October 7).

     Accompanied by the Commissioner for Labour, Mr Donald Tong, and the Highways Department's Project Manager of the HZMB, Mr Albert Lee, Mr Cheung was briefed by the Project Director at principal contractor Dragages Hong Kong, Mr Seved Robin, and the Project Manager, Mr Ivan Chau, the Project Consultant - AECOM Asia Company Limited's Vice President, Mr Barry Sum, as well as resident site staff on the project features, work method statement, and occupational safety and health (OSH) measures being implemented on-site. He conducted a site inspection at the tunnel under construction and paid special attention to the work safety and health matters in respect of the operation of the tunnel boring machines (TBMs) for constructing the sub-sea tunnel, and workers operating under high pressure inside the high-pressure plant and equipment. He impressed upon both the contractors and workers that OSH should be a shared responsibility between them.

     "Upon completion, the TM-CLKL - a tunnel connecting Tuen Mun Area 40 with the HZMB Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities - will provide a much more convenient and direct way for residents in Tuen Mun, Yuen Long and Tin Shui Wai to travel to Lantau Island for work. The TM-CLKL is expected to attract more residents from the North West New Territories to get employment at the Hong Kong International Airport or in Tung Chung," Mr Cheung said.

     The TM-CLKL - Northern Connection Sub-sea Tunnel Section, with a length of approximately 5 kilometres, will reach about 60 metres below sea level at its lowest level. The tunnel boring works have commenced and part of the TBM maintenance work needs to be carried out under high pressure.

     "With the commencement of a number of large-scale infrastructural projects in recent years, together with the expected sustained development of the construction industry in the coming few years, the number of workers joining the industry has been on the increase. The number of manual workers engaged at construction sites has increased from over 50 000 in 2010 to over 90 000 in the second quarter of 2015, and many of them were greenhorns. This poses continuous challenges to occupational safety in the construction industry," Mr Cheung said.

     He added, "With regard to OSH of the major public works projects, the Labour Department (LD), through stepping up liaison with the project proponents including government works departments, urges the contractors concerned to enhance their site safety management systems. This can be achieved through, for example, increasing the participation of professional resident site staff in monitoring work safety and enhancing safety audits for major public works projects so as to eliminate potential work hazards. To curb systemic safety risks at source more effectively, the LD will continue to urge contractors and site management personnel to incorporate, in a timely manner, safety elements in the work method statements and design during the project design, tendering and preparatory stages as well as the construction phase."

     Mr Cheung also expressed concern over the fatal construction accidents which occurred this year. He stressed that while employers should enhance risk management, employees should also follow all safety measures to prevent work accidents. There were 11 fatal accidents in the construction sector up to the end of September this year, down by 31 per cent when compared with 16 in the same period of last year. Five of these cases involved falling from height, and three each involved electrocution and being struck by falling objects.

     The LD from time to time launches special enforcement operations targeting high-risk processes such as work at height, lifting operations, electrical work, marine construction works and construction over water, and will take immediate enforcement action without prior warning upon discovery of breaches of safety legislation.

Ends/Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Issued at HKT 16:34


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