Labour Advisory Board Report 2011-2012 Image
Labour Advisory Board
Activities in the 2011-2012 Term
Committee on Employees' Compensation
Committee on Empolyment Services
Committee on the Implementation of International Labour Standards
Committee on Labour Relations
Committee on Occupational Safety and Health

Chapter 8. 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 2011-2012 is as follows:

Chairman: Deputy Commissioner for Labour (Occupational Safety and Health)
  • 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 LD

The membership list of COSH for the term 2011-2012 is at Appendix V.

8.4 Activities during the 2011-2012 Term
  During the 2011-2012 term, COSH advised on the following matters:

Measures to improve occupational safety in the construction industry

Owing to the commencement of mega infrastructure projects and substantial number of maintenance works projects for old buildings, the number of workers entering the construction sector continued to grow which posed challenges to construction safety. LD introduced an initiative of “Work Safety Alert” disseminating accident information promptly to industry stakeholders. COSH concurred that the initiative could help the industry take suitable preventive measures against similar accidents and advised LD to expand the distribution channels of the Alert so that relevant information could reach the public widely. Besides, COSH noted the new measures agreed among industry stakeholders to enhance construction safety at a Construction Safety Forum in March 2012. These included measures to strengthen site management and supervision, to enhance workers’ safety awareness and responsibility and to improve the safety management system.

In the light of a COSH member’s comment on the risk of the effectiveness of occupational safety and health messages being eroded over time, LD adjusted its publicity strategy through partnering with the Occupational Safety and Health Council (OSHC) in organising thematic promotional activities. LD also strengthened its cooperation with trade unions and arranged bereaved family members to speak at the outreach visits to impress construction workers of the importance of work safety. As new workers were more accident prone, COSH held in-depth discussion on the implementation details of a programme for caring of new construction workers with a view to enhancing its effectiveness.

In light of a number of serious accidents involving electrical works in 2012, COSH noted LD’s prompt measures to step up the enforcement and promotion work.  COSH provided practical advice on further improving safety management of electrical installations, enhancing workers’ safety awareness and strengthening training for electricians.

Measures to prevent heat stroke at work

COSH gave suggestions on LD’s measures on prevention of heat stroke at work targeting the construction, transportation and cleansing sectors during summer, including OSHC’s research on the effectiveness of cooling vests for workers. COSH members shared their experience on various preventive measures against heat stroke at work and were supportive of the pilot scheme implemented by the construction industry on the arrangement of additional rest breaks for bar-benders.