Industry safety during thunderstorms
Asked by : Hon LI Fung-ying
Replied by : SEM
On the 5th of this month, two industrial accidents occurred successively in which four workers were suspected to have been struck by lightning, resulting in one death and three injuries. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:
- the deceased's cause of death;
- the means it has adopted to remind employers and employees of industrial safety issues they should pay attention to during thunderstorms, particularly the safety measures when it is necessary to work outdoors; and
- the measures the relevant government departments will adopt to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents?
|a.||The two accidents of 5th of this month occurred at A Kung Kok Villiage and the Hong Kong International Airport respectively. An engineer died in the accident occurred at A Kung Kok Villiage. The Administration is investigating the accident. It is preliminarily believed to be related to electric shocks, but the actual cause of death has yet to be confirmed.|
|b.|| In every rainy season, Labour Department publicises, through various publicity channels, among employers and employees the issues to which they should pay attention for work in inclement weather. These channels include -
In addition, various works departments issues circulars before every rainy season to contractors and their employees to remind them of the necessary safety measures to be taken (including how to avoid being struck by lightning) when outdoor work in inclement weather is required. Contractors are also required to organise site seminars on relevant safety measures. Safety officers from various departments also remind contractors to take appropriate safety measures at the meetings of the safety committee for the works contracts.
The Airport Authority issues the "Emergency Procedures Manual" which sets out in detail the contingency measures to be adopted by various units working at the apron area during thunderstorms. For example, staff should be notified to stay indoors or take shelter inside a vehicle and to keep away from aircraft or lampposts as far as possible. When a thunderstorm warning issued by the Hong Kong Observatory is in force, the Airport Authority would immediately notify all relevant units so that they may take appropriate safety measures in accordance with the Manual and the internal procedures of their respective companies.
|c.|| Labour Department will continue to enhance employers' and employes' safety awareness for work in inclement weather through publicity and education. During their inspections of workplaces, Occupational Safety Officers will step up their efforts in encouraging employers and contractors to set up, as early as possible, a system and draw up the respective code for safety at work and to urge their employees to comply. Occupational Safety Officers will also remind employers and contractors that where it is unavoidable for their employees to work in inclement weather, they shall ensure that the relevant work is only performed under strict supervision and in accordance with the stipulated code for safety at work. Labour Department will take vigorous enforcement actions, including prosecution, against any person in breach of the safety legislation.
All works departments will continue to discuss at the safety committee for the works contracts the safety measures to be taken for outdoor work in inclement weather and monitor how the contractors and their employees implement the relevant measures in practice. Upon completion of the investigation regarding the fatal accident at A Kung Kok Villiage, Works Bureau will inform all works department of the cause of accident and the measures which require enhancement so as to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents.
The Airport Authority will, through various channels (such as Ramp Operations and Safety Committee, the "Airport Safety Bulletin" etc) remind the companies concerned of the need to put in place safety measures to be taken during thunderstorms. In addition, it will urge them to review their internal procedures from time to time in order to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents.