Safety Helmets with Y-type Chin Straps Sponsorship Scheme for Small and
The Labour Department (LD) and the Occupational Safety and Health Council (OSHC) jointly held a Work-at-height Safety Seminar on April 25 to strengthen the awareness and knowledge of construction industry stakeholders, including contractors, employers and employees, of the potential risks of working at height so as to further enhance work-at-height safety. The LD and the OSHC also announced at the event the launch of the new Safety Helmets with Y-type Chin Straps Sponsorship Scheme for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises of Construction Industry to subsidise small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) engaged in the construction industry to acquire safety helmets with Y-type chin straps that conform to safety standards in order to encourage the use of such helmets.
Speaking at the Seminar's opening ceremony, the Commissioner for Labour, Mr Carlson Chan said that according to industrial accident figures, falling from height was the major cause of serious industrial accidents. There have been six industrial fatalities related to fall-from-height so far in 2017, of which five happened in the construction industry. Among these construction industry fall-from-height accidents, one fatal case involved a worker falling from a 3-metre-high workplace. This illustrates that even working at a place considered not so high above ground still involves high risk, and it is therefore necessary to continuously promote the risks concerned with working at height and related safety awareness to contractors and workers. The LD will continue to focus on promoting work-at-height safety.
Mr Chan said, "The LD has looked into the nine industrial fatalities of the construction industry related to workers falling from height in 2015. Five deceased workers had put their helmets on but only one had buckled up the chin strap properly. Skull fractures were found in all the four deceased workers who had not buckled up the chin straps, while such was not the cause of death for the remaining deceased worker who had properly buckled up the chin strap. It underlines that wearing safety helmets with chin straps properly buckled up can effectively reduce head injury in case of falling from height."
Mr Chan announced in the seminar the launch of the Safety Helmets with Y-type Chin Straps Sponsorship Scheme for SMEs of Construction Industry by the LD and the OSHC. The scheme will subsidise eligible SMEs of the construction industry to procure safety helmets with chin straps that conform to the safety standards, in order to encourage construction workers to wear helmets with chin straps and alleviate head injury to workers working at height. The LD and the OSHC will launch a series of publicity programmes to remind workers to properly wear safety helmets with chin straps and to encourage SMEs engaged in the construction industry to actively participate in the scheme.
Mr Chan also appealed to the seminar participants. He said, "Apart from wearing safety helmets properly, workers must attach their safety harnesses to an independent anchorage point, such as an independent lifeline, when working at height. Contractors must also implement an effective monitoring system to ensure workers' proper use of safety harnesses."
The Work-at-height Safety Seminar attracted about 400 stakeholders from the construction industry together with members from other related industries. The Chairman of the OSHC, Mr Conrad Wong, was the other officiating guest, and the speakers included representatives from the LD, the OSHC, the Hong Kong Federation of Occupational Safety and Health Associations, and contractors.
There was also an exhibition showcasing safety helmets with chin straps and other work-at-height-related safety equipment under different sponsorship schemes. Demonstrations were made to show participants the use and effectiveness of this equipment. A counter was also set up to provide assistance to eligible SMEs in making applications.