The Occupational Safety and Health Branch of the Labour Department administers
the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance, the Factories and Industrial
Undertakings Ordinance and their subsidiary legislation to protect the
safety and health of employees at work in almost all economic sectors.
Enforcement of the legislation is carried out through
routine inspections of workplaces and special campaigns. To arouse safety
awareness among employers and employees and to facilitate compliance with
the law, the department promotes the Occupational Safety Charter, publishes
a wide variety of guidebooks and codes of practice and undertakes other
activities such as organising safety campaigns and award schemes, exhibitions
The Boilers and Pressure Vessels Division of the Labour Department administers
the Boilers and Pressure Vessels Ordinance to ensure the safe use and
operation of pressure equipment. The division conducts regular spot checks
on pressure equipment. It also conducts examinations for the issue of
Certificates of Competency, investigates accidents and undertakes activities
to promote safety.
In 2003, the division processed 1 537 applications
for registration of equipment, conducted 6 494 inspections,
and issued 425 Certificates of Competency and endorsements.
The Occupational Health Service of the Labour Department aims to protect
the health of workers from hazards in the workplace environment. The service
sets occupational health standards, monitors occupational hygiene practice
in the workplaces and enforces occupational health and safety legislation.
It undertakes medical examinations for radiation workers and government
employees engaged in hazardous occupations, provides clinical consultation
for employees with a work-related illness, investigates occupational diseases,
arranges medical assessments for injured employees, and conducts health
educational and promotional programmes for workers. The service also provides
hyperbaric oxygen therapy for treatment of decompression sickness in divers.
In 2003, the service enhanced its inspection of hospitals,
homes for the elderly and workplaces undergoing cleaning and disinfection
to ensure the adequate provision and training in the use of personal protective
equipment for workers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Council was established in 1988 to
foster a safe and healthy working environment in Hong Kong through training,
promotion, consultancy, information services and research.
Training and promotional initiatives for high-risk
industries are the council's priorities. A total of 15 000 persons attended
the 650 training courses organised by the council in 2003. Classroom training
was strengthened with practical sessions on gas welding, forklift truck
operation, working in a confined space, working at a height, abrasive
wheel operation, and use of fire extinguishers. The council also provided
training on the application of psychology in safety management and occupational
rehabilitation to enable employers to assist injured employees to return
to work. It organised regular technical seminars on topical issues such
as safe working on scaffolding, outdoor work under extreme weather, and
health and hygiene at construction sites.
In view of increasing public demand, the council published
the first Hong Kong Occupational Safety and Health Products and Services
Suppliers Directory, providing detailed information on OSH products, services
The council hosted the 'Safety and Health Expo and
the 12th International Conference on Safe Communities' in March. There
were exchanges of international expertise and an exhibition displaying
a wide range of occupational safety and health products and services.
A milestone at the Expo was the World Health Organisation's accreditation
of Tuen Mun and Kwai Tsing as the first designated safe communities in
Hong Kong. As the sixth affiliate 'safe community support centre' of the
World Health Organisation, the council continued to promote safety and
health at the district and community levels.
With the support of trade unions and related organisations,
the council launched a campaign on 'Workplace Protection against SARS'
in May to educate high-risk employee groups on the effective use of personal
protective equipment and prevention of biological hazards. This was done
by means of seminars, videos and publications as well as the distribution
of protective equipment. In July, the council launched a 'Workplace Hygiene
Charter' to promote a clean and hygienic working environment. A series
of workplace exercises was designed for construction workers, health care
workers, cleaners and professional drivers to help them improve personal
The council's OSH Enhancement Scheme for Small and
Medium Enterprises (SMEs) was enhanced during the year by the introduction
of an accredited list of safety consultants. The scheme provides technical
support to SMEs.