Hong Kong orders construction suspension after workplace accident

An investigation is being launched to find if the contractor is liable

Hong Kong orders construction suspension after workplace accident

Hong Kong's Labour Department (LD) on Monday slapped a suspension notice on a contractor following a fatal work accident at a construction site in Kai Tak Development Area that killed one worker.

The victim was reportedly working on the 11/F of a building that was under construction when she fell to the 9/F through a floor opening and was later certified dead in a hospital, according to the Labour Department. 

The department said it is saddened by the death of the worker and expressed deepest sympathy to the victim's family, while adding it was "highly concerned" over the workplace incident.

"We commenced immediate on-site investigation as soon as we were notified of the accident and issued suspension notices to the contractors involved to suspend all construction activities carried out at/adjacent to the floor openings of the building," a Labour Department spokesperson said in a statement.

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

According to the spokesperson, the investigation aims to identify the cause of the accident, find out the liability of the duty holders, and recommend improvement measures.

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

Possible violation that can be taken from the incident is on the general duty provisions of the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance, according to the Labour Department. It requires employers to provide safe working environments, safe plant, as well as safe systems for their employees.

If proven guilty, offenders may be liable to a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for six months.

The Labour Department also said the employer concerned in the accident should assist the victim's family in claiming the employees' compensation as stipulated under the Employees' Compensation Ordinance.

In terms of facing financial difficulties, however, the department said it will assist them in applying for appropriate emergency funds.

"Subject to the needs and wishes of family members of the deceased, the LD will also liaise with the Social Welfare Department for financial or other assistance," it said in a media release.

Read more: Hong Kong contractor, firm fined over employee death

Reminder to employers

Following the incident on Monday, Hong Kong's Labour Department reminded employers to provide plant and systems of work to secure the safety and health of their employees.

"Employees should co-operate with their employers, adopt all safety measures and use personal protective equipment provided properly to avoid endangering their own work safety and that of other workers," it added.

Meanwhile, the department announced that it will roll out a Work Safety Alert to remind the employers of safety precautionary measures to prevent similar accidents in the future.

The alert will also contain a brief account of the accident to duty holders, workers' unions, and professional bodies of safety practitioners, among others.

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