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LCQ21: Disciplined services attach great importance to occupational safety and health of staff
      Following is a question by the Dr Hon Cheng Chung-tai and a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr John Lee, in the Legislative Council today (January 17):


     It has been learnt that in recent years, there has been an upward trend in the number of cases in which staff members of the disciplined services suffered strokes while on duty and a downward trend in the age of such staff members. Some staff members of the disciplined services have pointed out that inadequate manpower in various disciplined services in recent years has resulted in very long duty shifts for them. Moreover, the rest time between two shifts is not enough for them to recover their strength both mentally and physically.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the number of staff members of the disciplined services who suffered strokes while on duty in the past five years, together with a breakdown by the disciplined service, work unit and age group to which they belonged; the staff establishment of the work units concerned in the past five years;

(2) of the criteria adopted by various disciplined services for determining whether there were work-related elements in the causes of stroke cases; and

(3) of the measures adopted by the various disciplined services and work units concerned to address problems such as inadequate manpower and lengthy duty shifts?



     The disciplined services attach great importance to the occupational safety and health of staff and organise publicity and educational programmes from time to time, with a view to enhancing staff's awareness of occupational safety and health. Our reply to the different parts of the question is as follows:  

(1) From April 2013 to December 2017, there were seven cases of staff members of the disciplined services suffering stroke while on duty in the Customs and Excise Department, Government Flying Service and the Hong Kong Police Force.  Two of the staff members were between the age of 40 and 49 and the remaining five were between the age of 50 and 59. The establishment of the units to which these staff members belonged are as follows:
  Number of cases of stroke while on duty Establishment
(by financial year)
2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
(as at Dec 31)
Customs and Excise Department
Office of Training and Development 1 72 68 72 72 99
Land Boundary Command 1 1 187 1 193 1 191 1 181 1 171
Government Flying Service
Engineering 1 85 86 86 105 105
Hong Kong Police Force
Identification Bureau 1 149 149 149 149 149
Marine North Division 1 346 349 349 349 349
Regional Control and Command Centre, New Territories 1 76 76 76 76 76
Shatin Division 1 231 231 231 231 231
Total 7

(2) When determining whether a case was an injury-on-duty or included work-related elements, the departments will consider relevant information, including the specific facts of the case, medical reports and/or advice provided by the Labour Department in accordance with the Employees' Compensation Ordinance (Cap. 282), etc.

     The Employees' Compensation Ordinance stipulates that if an employee sustains an injury or dies as a result of an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment, his employer is liable to pay compensation in accordance with the Ordinance. Upon receipt of notification on the relevant incident by an employer, the Labour Department will collect relevant information of the case, including investigation reports and medical reports etc. and, if necessary, consult the Occupational Health Officer, to provide advice to the employer and the employee on the possibility of the case being an injury-on-duty from the medical viewpoint and in accordance with the Employees' Compensation Ordinance, with a view to assisting the employer, the employee or the family members of the deceased in handling the claim for compensation promptly.

     The welfare units of the disciplined services will provide appropriate assistance to staff members suffering from a stroke and their family members. Funds relating to the welfare of disciplined services and staff associations will also provide appropriate support based on the individual circumstances of the case.

(3) The disciplined services pay constant attention to the manpower situation of disciplined staff. These departments will make suitable manpower arrangements based on actual operations. They will also closely monitor the workload of staff and review the manpower situation. Where necessary they will redeploy or bid for additional resources in accordance with established mechanisms as needed. These departments have all increased their establishments in recent years to cope with increase in service demand. Furthermore, the departments have put in place measures to alleviate the stress of frontline staff. For instance, the Immigration Department has implemented business process reengineering to streamline workload and utilised information technology to enhance efficiency.

     As regards working hours, the departments will take into consideration the number of working hours of each shift and the rest time in between shifts when drawing up duty rosters. The departments will also conduct review from time to time and implement appropriate measures. For instance, the Fire Services Department has, on the premise that the department's operations would not be affected, reduced the conditioned working hours of the operational staff in the Fire Stream by three hours per week starting from July 2016, lowering the overall working hours of staff. Furthermore, where feasible, the disciplined services seek to implement the five-day work week as far as practicable, with a view to increasing the rest time of staff.
Ends/Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Issued at HKT 16:40
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