Industrial safety in relation to lift shafts
Asked by : Ir. Dr. Hon. HO Chung-tai
Replied by : SEM
In December last year, a worker died after falling down a lift shaft in a building under construction. Regarding industrial safety in relation to lift shafts, will the Government inform this Council:
- of the respective numbers of industrial accidents in which workers fell down lift shafts and deaths resulting from such accidents in the past three years;
- whether legislation is in place to regulate the safety of workers working on site near lift shafts; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
- of the duties in this respect of the safety officers employed by principal contractors?
|a.||During the 3-year period from 1998 to 2000, the Labour Department recorded one fatal accident involving fall of a person into the lift shaft of the building under construction and another 7 fatal accidents involving fall of persons into the hoistways of material hoists. In the accident referred to in the Question of the Hon. HO Chung-tai, the worker died after falling into the hoistway of a material hoist. The breakdown of the eight fatal accidents is given below :
Number of fatal accidents
Note : The accident statistics for 2000 are provisional as some of the accidents that occurred towards the end of the year may not have been reported to the Labour Department yet.
However, for non-fatal accidents the Labour Department does not have separate breakdowns for accidents involving fall into lift shafts or hoistways of material hoist.
|b.||Safety at work on construction sites, including working at height, is mainly regulated by the Construction Sites (Safety) Regulations (CSSR) made under the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance (Cap. 59). Regulation 38A of the CSSR provides that the contractor responsible for a construction site shall ensure that every place on the site is, so far as reasonably practicable, made and kept safe for any person working there. Regulation 38B further requires the contractor to take adequate steps to prevent any person on the site from falling from a height of 2 metres or more. In the context of working inside or near lift shafts or the hoistways of material hoists, "adequate steps" include the provision, use and maintenance of :-
In addition, the Commissioner for Labour issued a "Code of Practice for Safety at Work (Lift and Escalator)" in October 1997 under Section 7A(1) of the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance, (Cap. 59). This Code of Practice focuses on workers' safety and recommends safe practices for proprietors and contractors, and their employees engaged in lift and escalator works. Although failure to observe any provision of the Code of Practice is not itself an offence, that failure may be taken by a court in criminal proceedings as a relevant factor in determining whether a person has breached the relevant safety and health legislation.
|c.||The duties of a safety officer are set out in Regulation 15 of the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Safety Officers and Safety Supervisors) Regulations (extract is at Annex). Basically, a safety officer has to assist the contractor of a construction site in promoting the safety and health of persons employed therein including those working inside or near lift shafts or the hoistways of material hoists. Among other things, he has to