Secretary for Labour & Welfare Matthew Cheung inspected safety measures at the construction site of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link West Kowloon Terminus today.
He was briefed on the occupational safety and health measures being implemented on-site, and paid special attention to the safety of working at height, excavation work, and the operation of large-scale machinery.
“With the commencement of a number of large-scale infrastructure projects in recent years, together with the expected vibrant development of the construction industry in the coming few years, an increasing number of workers will join the industry. The number of construction workers has increased from over 50,000 in 2010 to over 90,000 in the first quarter of 2015, and many of them are greenhorns. This poses continuous challenges to the occupational safety in the construction industry,” Mr Cheung said.
“The Labour Department urges contractors to enhance their site safety management systems through, for example, increasing the participation of professional resident site staff in monitoring work safety and enhancing safety audits for major works projects so as to eliminate potential work hazards.”
Mr Cheung said he is particularly concerned about the site safety awareness of new and ethnic minority workers. The department has enhanced publicity and education targeting these workers by producing easy-to-understand information leaflets with more pictorial illustrations. It is also working with labour unions and trade associations to conduct site visits and organise seminars to promote safety awareness.
Expressing concern about a number of recent fatal construction accidents, he said that while employers should enhance risk management, employees should also follow all safety measures to prevent work accidents.
There were nine fatal accidents in the construction sector up to the end of July this year, down by 31% on the same period of last year. Four of these cases involved falling from height, and two involved electrocution.
The department has launched special enforcement operations targeting high-risk processes such as work at height, lifting operations, electrical work and marine construction work.
It will take immediate enforcement action without prior warning upon discovery of breaches of safety legislation.