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LCQ15: Work-related injuries and employees' compensation claims
     Following is a question by the Hon Jimmy Ng and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, in the Legislative Council today (May 2):
     The Labour Department received more than 50 000 employees' compensation claims for work-related injuries reported under the Employees' Compensation Ordinance (Cap. 282) in each year from 2013 to 2017.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of a breakdown, by industry and cause of the work injury incidents, of the number of compensation claims for work-related injuries in each of the past five years (set out in a table);
(2) whether it has explored new measures that may reduce the occurrence of work injury incidents; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(3) in respect of those industries with a higher number of work injury incidents, whether the Government will allocate additional resources (including manpower) to (i) step up training for the employers and employees of such industries so as to raise their awareness of occupational safety and health (OSH), and (ii) draw up more stringent OSH guidelines for such industries; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
     My reply to the Member's question is as follows:
(1) From 2013 to 2017, the number of employees' compensation claims reported under the Employees' Compensation Ordinance (ECO) and received by the Labour Department (LD) in each year is provided below:
Duration of incapacitation of employees 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Not more than three days 16 096 15 531 14 994 15 134 14 645
More than three days* 39 072 38 386 36 923 36 420 36 463
Total 55 168 53 917 51 917 51 554 51 108
* Figures include fatal cases.
     If the employees sustain work injuries which result in incapacitation for not more than three days and no permanent incapacity is involved, the employers should make direct payment of compensation to the employees in accordance with ECO.  LD does not keep a breakdown of the above compensation claims involving incapacitation of employees for not more than three days by industry.  As for compensation claims involving incapacitation of employees for more than three days, a breakdown by industry is provided below:
Industry 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Public Administration, Social and Personal Services 8 057 7 927 7 394 7 641 7 376
Finance and Insurance, Real Estate, Professional and Business Services 6 887 6 886 6 892 7 100 7 205
Food and Beverage Services 6 431 6 192 5 944 5 540 5 621
Import/Export, Wholesale and Retail Trades, Accommodation Services 5 831 5 642 5 315 5 206 5 013
Transportation, Storage, Postal and Courier Services, Information and Communications 5 013 4 779 4 154 4 103 4 213
Construction 3 343 3 597 3 955 3 847 4 143
Manufacturing 2 495 2 448 2 313 2 034 1 950
Others 1 015 915 956 949 942
Total 39 072 38 386 36 923 36 420 36 463
     LD does not keep a breakdown of compensation claims by cause of the work injury incident.
(2) & (3) LD always keeps occupational safety and health (OSH) enhancement strategies under review and adjusts the approach, focus and intensity of its work from time to time in light of the changes of work practices of different industries as well as the corresponding changes in the OSH risks they face.
     LD will continue to adopt a multi-pronged strategy to enhance OSH in various industries through inspection and enforcement, education and training as well as publicity and promotion.
     As the construction industry records the highest industrial accident rate and number of fatalities while the catering industry has the highest number of industrial accidents amongst all industries, we have always been particularly concerned about the OSH of these two industries.  Having regard to changing risk situations, LD launches special enforcement operations from time to time and conducts surprise inspections, so as to enhance the OSH awareness of duty holders engaged in these industries, and to safeguard the OSH of the employees involved.  Besides, LD collaborates with the Occupational Safety and Health Council, major trade associations and workers' unions concerned to organise promotional activities.  These activities include large-scale promotional campaigns, training courses, seminars, health talks, roving exhibitions, out-reaching promotional visits, etc.  LD also disseminates OSH messages through television and radio Announcements in the Public Interest, newspapers and LD's homepage. Moreover, LD from time to time compiles and updates safety guidelines, particularly on high risk processes, to promote safe operation and to enhance the safety performance of various industries.  Examples are the "Guidance Notes on Safety and Health of Hand-dug Tunnelling Work" published at the end of last year and the "Guidance Notes on the Selection, Use and Maintenance of Safety Helmets" that will soon be issued.
     As in the Appropriation Bill 2018, there will be an increase of 98 posts in LD.  In addition to strengthening the above-mentioned work, the new resources will also be deployed to undertake a series of new measures to reduce accidents at work, including:
(i) to intensify inspection and enforcement efforts, which include conducting in-depth surprise inspections, and to step up monitoring the work of safety professionals, etc.;
(ii) to step up monitoring public works projects through greater participation in meetings of Site Safety Management Committee;
(iii) to step up OSH publicity efforts including enhancing the promotion of complaint channel and encouraging construction workers to report unsafe working condition, thus enabling LD to conduct prompt and targeted inspections;
(iv) to promote the requirement for workers to wear safety helmets with chin strap, and to produce new animated "Work Safety Alert", etc.; and
(v) to review penalties of the OSH legislation so as to achieve greater deterrent effect.
     LD will continue to adopt risk-based approach in formulating targeted measures to enhance the overall OSH performance of Hong Kong.
Ends/Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Issued at HKT 17:42
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