Pay for safety and cut accidents and deaths. That is the message from the construction industry’s advisory body in its renewed drive to get clients and contractors to pay for safety measures.
According to Cheung Hau-wai, chairman of the Committee on Construction Site Safety of the Construction Industry Council, ultimately the one party paying for safety was the client.
“It should come from him,” Cheung said on the launch recently of the Council’s new “Guidelines on the adoption of the Pay for Safety Scheme”.
Not only that, there was a financial incentive because contractors can expect lower premiums for employees compensation insurance once the insurers know contractors are good safety practices (see side story).
Under the scheme, in the Bill of Quantities, which is the detailed breakdown of the items of work and their prices, the safety items would be listed out separately in detail and priced.
Such items include providing a safety plan, safety officers, safety training and workshops for workers, arrange and attendance of site safety committee meetings and joint weekly safety walks.
Payment for these items would be dependant on the contractor carrying out these safety items to the client’s satisfaction.
Cheung said on average, the cost of the safety items accounted for 0.5 to 2 percent of the contract sum.
Currently the public works contracts and Housing Authority contracts are using the scheme, with some private sector jobs also using it.
To further encourage safety, Hong Kong Housing Authority Acting Deputy Director (Development & Construction) Irene Cheng Wan said the Authority would be including surprise safety inspections as a safety item that must be passed satisfactorily by the contractor.
The Authority has been using the scheme since 2000 and has seen a reduction in accidents on its construction sites.
According to its statistics, in 2001, the accident rate per 1000 workers on HA sites was 55.8 but by 2011, the rate had plunged to 9.
By comparison, as a whole, the industry had an accident rate of 114.6 in 2001, but which fell at a slower pace, dropping to 49.7 in 2011.