Hong Kong investigates plastic recycling yard fatality

Employers urged to provide safety measures to protect workers

Hong Kong investigates plastic recycling yard fatality

Hong Kong's Labour Department (LD) has launched an investigation into a workplace incident on Monday that resulted in the death of an employee in a plastic recycling yard.

A spokesperson from the LD said it ordered the suspension on the operations of the workplace until proper safety measures have been implemented.

"We commenced an immediate on-site investigation as soon as we were notified of the accident and issued a suspension notice to the proprietor of the workplace to suspend the operation of the bale breaking machine," said a spokesperson from LD.

"The proprietor cannot resume the work until the LD is satisfied that measures to abate the relevant risks have been taken."

In a media release, the victim was reported dead on the spot after he was injured by the revolving parts of a bale breaking machine.

The LD said it is "saddened" by the fatality, adding that it is aiming to finish the investigation as soon as possible.

"We will complete the investigation as soon as possible to identify the cause of the accident, ascertain the liability of the duty holders and recommend improvement measures," said the LD spokesperson.

"We will take action pursuant to the law if there is any violation of the work safety legislation."

The employer of the victim may receive a maximum fine of $500,000 and get sentenced to imprisonment for six months if they are proven to have violated the general duty provisions of the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance that require them to provide safe working environments, as well as plant and systems of work for their employees.

Read more: Hong Kong slow on tackling employee overwork

The employer is also reminded by the LD on their responsibility under the Employees' Compensation Ordinance, as well their duty to assist the victim's family members on claiming compensation.

The LD will also offer financial assistance through appropriate emergency funds.

Meanwhile, the department said it will issue a Work Safety Alert to recount the incident and underscore the importance of compliance to precautionary measures to prevent recurrence of similar accidents.

It further appealed to employers to provide plant and systems at work that are safe and without risks to their employees' health. Employees are also advised to co-operate with their employers to ensure their safety at work.

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