Workplace safety urged ahead of Chinese New Year holiday

Employers told to 'step up' monitoring to ensure employees' safety

Workplace safety urged ahead of Chinese New Year holiday

Hong Kong's Labour Department is telling employers to "step up" their monitoring of safety measures in the workplace before the Chine New Year holidays kick off.

A spokesperson from the department said the festive atmosphere and the rush to complete work before the holidays may make employees become less vigilant of their safety.

"Employers should therefore step up monitoring to ensure workplace safety and eliminate potential hazards through pre-holiday safety inspections, thereby minimising the chance of grave consequences during and after the Chinese New Year holidays," the spokesperson said in a statement.

Safety precautions before the holidays include turning off the power for plant and machinery, properly storing chemicals, stacking materials in an orderly manner, extinguishing flames, shutting down gas welding equipment, as well as securing temporary structures, according to the spokesperson.

Risk assessment urged

The department also reminded supervisors and employees to avoid compromising work safety for tight work schedules.

"Risk assessment should be conducted by competent persons prior to the commencement of different work processes, with safe work method statements formulated and proper monitoring systems in place, especially for work involving high-risk operation, such as working at height, lifting operation, tunnelling works and electrical work," the spokesperson said.

Under Hong Kong's Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance, employers are mandated to provide safe working environments and systems for their employees. Violations of these provisions can result in substantial fines of up to $10 million and imprisonment for two years.

The most recent data from the Labour Department revealed a total of 6,155 industrial accidents and 22,133 occupational injuries in Hong Kong for the first three quarters of 2023.

The Chinese New Year will fall on February 10 this year, marking the start of the Year of the Wood Dragon.

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