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Labour Department responding proactively to recent fatal industrial accidents
     The Labour Department (LD) is highly concerned about the recent spate of fatal industrial accidents. The LD is saddened by the death of workers in the accidents and expresses its deepest condolences to the victims' families.
     A spokesman for the LD said today (March 13), "There have been eight industrial fatalities so far this year, of which five concerned the construction industry while the remaining three cases happened at a shipyard, an airport apron, and a landfill site. The situation is worrying."
     "The LD is very concerned about these cases. Apart from investigating the cases in full gear and having issued Work Safety Alerts to duty holders, including contractors, trade associations and workers' unions, the LD is rolling out a series of initiatives to curb recurrence of similar accidents," he said.
     "As five fatal industrial accidents have already occurred in the construction industry this year, the Commissioner for Labour has arranged to meet with industry stakeholders from the construction industry to discuss how to further enhance the safety awareness of employers and employees.  The Commissioner will also remind the industry to take suitable and adequate safety measures to protect workers' safety. Moreover, as quite a number of the fatal industrial accidents involved workers falling from height, the LD will step up enforcement efforts and will shortly launch a special enforcement operation, targeting at work-at-height safety in the construction industry. Special attention will be paid to high risk processes, such as scaffolding work, to deter unsafe work activities. During the enforcement operation, the LD will take vigorous enforcement actions if violation of occupational safety and health legislation is detected, including issuing suspension notices to suspend the associated work processes and initiating prosecutions if necessary," the spokesman added.
     Furthermore, the LD will step up promotion and education efforts targeting at the risk of work-at-height, such as scaffolding work.  The LD will increase the frequency of broadcasting the relevant TV and Radio Announcements in the Public Interests to remind employers to provide safe working platforms, suitable personal protective equipment and anchorages to workers. Workers should attach their personal protective equipment to independent lifelines and other secured anchorages. The LD will also widely promote the aforementioned messages through other channels such as public transport and safety promotion activities. 
     The LD has also issued advisory letters to all relevant duty holders, urging them to step up safety measures to ensure the occupational safety and health of workers, including the conduct of risk assessment for work processes, and devising appropriate systems of work and provision of suitable personal protective equipment.
     The LD again appeals to employers and employees to always stay alert to work safety and strictly adopt safety measures so as to avoid endangering their own safety and that of others.
Ends/Monday, March 13, 2017
Issued at HKT 22:09
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