Labour Advisory Board Report 2009-20108. Committee on Occupational Safety and Health

8.1 Introduction
  The Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) was set up in January 1997 to advise on occupational safety and health legislation and related matters.

8.2 Terms of Reference
  The committee is established to:

  • review the standards of occupational safety and health in Hong Kong;
  • advise on legislative proposals on occupational safety and health and review existing legislation; and
  • advise on the measures to be adopted by the Labour Department (LD) with a view to improving the existing system which enforces occupational safety and health legislation.

8.3 Composition
  Members of COSH are appointed by the Commissioner for Labour. The composition of the committee for the term 2009-2010 is as follows:

Chairman: Deputy Commissioner for Labour (Occupational Safety and Health)
Members:
  • Three employer representatives from the Labour Advisory Board
  • Three employee representatives from the Labour Advisory Board
  • Three employer representatives from outside the Labour Advisory Board
  • Three employee representatives from outside the Labour Advisory Board
  • A representative nominated by the Occupational Safety and Health Council
  • Three representatives from occupational safety and health organisations
  • Assistant Commissioner for Labour (Occupational Safety)
  • Occupational Health Consultant (1)
  • Chief Occupational Safety Officer (Support Services)
Secretary: A Labour Officer of the Labour Department

The membership list of COSH for the term 2009-2010 is at Appendix V.

8.4 Activities during the 2009-2010 Term
  During the 2009-2010 term, COSH advised on the following matters:

Implementation of the second phase certification requirement under the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Loadshifting Machinery) Regulation

COSH discussed LD's proposed implementation by early 2011 of the second phase certification requirement under the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Loadshifting Machinery) Regulation. The proposal would bring into force regulatory requirements for operators of five types of loadshifting machines1 used at construction sites to have undergone relevant training and be in possession of valid certificates. COSH supported LD's proposal.

Review of the Code of Practice for Safe Use of Tower Cranes

To keep pace with the changing environment and in light of experience gained in the enforcement work arising from the issue of the Guidelines on Safety of Tower Cranes (the Guidelines) by the Construction Industry Council, LD initiated a review of the Code of Practice for Safe Use of Tower Cranes (CoP) with the primary objective of incorporating the good practices recommended in the Guidelines into CoP. COSH actively discussed and had provided practical advice on enhancing the safety of tower crane operation through CoP.

Review of the existing Mandatory Safety Training System and the proposed improvement measures

COSH considered LD's proposal for enhancing the existing system of mandatory safety training (MST) put forward after a review of the system. COSH agreed that there was a need to improve the system for monitoring MST, and supported LD's proposed two-phase approach for bringing improvement to the system, including standardising course contents, consolidating guidance notes and issuing central examination papers, to be introduced in Phase 1. It also considered different ways to monitor training course providers and to strengthen disciplinary actions against poor performers to assure the quality standard of such training courses. COSH agreed that there should be more in-depth study and consultation with relevant parties before determining any measures to be implemented in Phase 2.

Application for review of a Suspension Notice

LD had served on a company a Suspension Notice for work activities inside all electric meter rooms with liftwell rescue doors. The company subsequently applied for a review2 of the said notice under section 11(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance (OSHO). In deciding the review application, the Commissioner for Labour had taken advice from COSH on the matter. LD eventually upheld the Suspension Notice and rejected the application.


1
The five types of loadshifting machines as specified in paragraphs (f) to (j) in Part II of the Schedule to the Regulation include compactors, dumpers, graders, locomotives and scrapers.
2
Under section 11(3) of OSHO, the Commissioner for Labour must determine the application either by confirming the notice or by revoking or varying it within 14 days after receiving the application for review.