Hong Kong 2006
Chapter 6:
Labour Market Situation
Labour Administration and Services
Employment Services
Preparing People for Work
Labour Relations
Employees' Rights
and Benefits
Imported Workers
Occupational Safety
and Health
Occupational Safety
and Health Council
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Occupational Safety and Health

The Labour Department seeks to improve safety and health at the workplace through legislation, law enforcement, promotion, education and training. Through the concerted efforts of all parties concerned, including employers, employees, contractors, safety practitioners and the Government, Hong Kong's work safety performance has improved significantly.


Over the years, the series of initiatives made in relation to occupational safety and health has improved the safety performance in Hong Kong markedly. In 2006, the number of occupational injuries stood at 46 937, representing a drop of 26.1 per cent from 63 526 in 1998. The number of industrial accidents also decreased from 43 034 in 1998 to 17 286 in 2006, down by 59.8 per cent. In the construction industry, the number of accidents dropped by a huge 82.6 per cent from 19 588 in 1998 to 3 400 in 2006.

In 2006, a total of 264 occupational disease cases were confirmed, representing a slight rise of 3 per cent from 256 cases in 2005 but a cumulative fall of 72 per cent from the peak 948 cases in 1998. The most common occupational diseases were silicosis, tenosynovitis of the hand or forearm and occupational deafness.


The Labour Department focuses its inspections on high-risk or accident-prone industries and closely monitors organisations with poor safety records. Improvement notices or suspension notices are issued when necessary to secure a speedy rectification of irregularities, or to remove imminent risks to life and limb. In 2006, 189 suspension notices and 1 339 improvement notices were issued. There were 2 056 prosecutions under the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance and the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance heard in court. The conviction rate was 84.6 per cent and fines totalled more than $13 million.

The Labour Department carries out special enforcement campaigns targeting high-risk work situations. The campaigns cover working at heights, renovation and maintenance works safety, scaffolding and ladder safety, tower crane safety, fire and chemical safety, construction vehicles and mobile plants, sewage works, catering industry, and cargo and container handling. In 2006, the department conducted 17 special enforcement campaigns and 587 prosecutions were initiated. Altogether, 490 improvement notices and 101 suspension notices were issued.

In 2006, the Labour Department conducted inspections of office workplaces to ensure compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health (Display Screen Equipment) Regulation. Moreover, inspections of catering establishments were stepped up to ensure appropriate measures are taken to prevent workers from contracting work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Altogether, 203 warnings and 33 improvement notices were issued and three prosecutions were carried out.

The Labour Department intensified enforcement action on minor renovation and maintenance works in response to the growing number of accidents occurring in the course of such work. Occupational safety officers conducted point-to-point inspections on normal working days, at night and during holidays to clamp down on offending contractors. The department also made use of the reporting system set up in conjunction with the Hong Kong Association of Property Management Companies to monitor the renovation and maintenance works in buildings under the management of association members. During the year, a total of 425 enquiries, complaints and referral cases were received through the system. As a result of follow-up inspections by occupational safety officers, 98 suspension/improvement notices were issued and there were 73 prosecutions.

In the wake of the fatal accidents related to working at heights and on scaffoldings in 2006, the department continued to step up its enforcement action to ensure adequate safeguards at these work sites. Apart from normal inspections, blitz operations and task force exercises were carried out to create greater awareness of the need for safety at work sites. Arising from these intensified enforcement actions, 207 suspension/improvement notices were issued and 195 prosecutions were initiated.

Promotion and Education

In 2006, the department launched a variety of promotional campaigns and publicity drives to enhance occupational safety and health protection. These activities included seminars, safety forums, thematic talks, roving exhibitions, TV and radio announcements, radio programmes, publications on occupational safety and health, promoting the Occupational Safety Charter and Occupational Hygiene Charter and formulating safety award schemes for the construction and the catering industries.

The Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance requires mandatory basic safety training for people engaged in construction work and container handling operations. On satisfactory completion of their training programme, workers are issued with a certificate, commonly known as the Green Card, valid for three years. To revalidate the certificate, the worker has to attend a half-day refresher course every three years. By the end of 2006, over 848 000 people had obtained the Green Card for working at construction sites and container handling workplaces. Some 460 000 workers have completed the half-day refresher course.

The Labour Department's Occupational Safety and Health Training Centre holds training courses to help workers better understand the requirements of occupational safety and health legislation. In 2006, the centre organised over 800 such courses and talks for some 12 500 employees.

The department also gives talks in the offices of companies and organisations. In 2006, a total of 1 629 health talks were delivered. The department organised publicity programmes in 2006 aimed at preventing musculoskeletal disorders among people working in the catering industry.

Occupational Health Clinics

The Labour Department's Kwun Tong Occupational Health Clinic provides clinical occupational health service for workers in Hong Kong. In 2006, the department set up an additional occupational health clinic in Fanling to strengthen the service in the New Territories.

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