CL visits construction site and attends safety talk
The Commissioner for Labour, Mr Carlson Chan, together with representatives of the Occupational Safety and Health Council (OSHC) and the Hong Kong Construction Industry Employees General Union (HKCIEGU), visited a public housing construction site in Kwai Chung on July 11. He also attended a safety talk, organised by the HKCIEGU, which was aimed at strengthening workers' awareness on occupational safety and health.
During the construction site tour, Mr Chan observed that closely boarded bamboo scaffolding was adopted on the external wall scaffolding. This scaffolding design is considered effective in preventing workers from falling when working on scaffolds. The Construction Industry Council and the Labour Department are respectively revising the relevant Guide and Code of Practice, with a view to promoting such a design to all construction sites with external bamboo scaffolding. Mr Chan also saw that workers were wearing safety helmets with chin straps and using safety platforms when working at height.
In the speech he made at the safety talk, Mr Chan said that the construction accident figures and number of fatalities are still high although the injury rate per 1 000 construction workers is improving. There have already been 10 fatalities in 2017 till present, among which five related to falling from height.
Mr Chan also reminded workers to pay special attention and follow all safety measures while at work, especially when carrying out work above ground, even on a level considered not very high. Mr Chan added that, in fact, there were fatal cases of workers falling from straight ladders. Workers therefore must use suitable working platforms, such as mobile working platforms, step platforms and hop-up platforms (commonly known as the "Three Safety Buddies") for work at height. Furthermore, to ensure safety, workers must use full-body harnesses and secure them on independent lifelines where necessary.
Mr Chan also appealed to workers to buckle up the chin straps of safety helmets. Otherwise, helmets will become detached from workers' heads when falling and the workers may suffer serious head injuries.
About 70 construction workers attended the safety talk. Guests attending the event also included the OSHC Chairman, Mr Conrad Wong, and the President of the Hong Kong Construction Association, Mr Allan Chan. Apart from the HKCIEGU Chairman, Mr Chow Luen-kiu, who delivered a safety talk on working at height, members of bereaved families spoke on their experiences in regard to past fatal industrial accidents. In the past five years, the HKCIEGU has conducted more than 460 similar safety talks with the participation of more than 20 000 workers.