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Catering Industry Urged to Improve Work Safety

Hong Kong's Permanent Secretary for Economic Development and Labor Matthew Cheung Kin-chung Sunday urged the catering industry to accord priority to safety matters to minimize work accidents.

Addressing the award presentation ceremony of the Catering Industry Safety Award Scheme and Fun Day, Cheung made the appeal as the industry's accident toll topped all industries in the last three years despite recent significant improvement in its safety and health performance.

Comparing the first three quarters of 2003 and 2002, the number of accidents declined by 18.5 percent, from 7,646 to 6,229, and the accident rate per 1,000 workers was down by 10.5 percent, from54.5 to 48.8.

Cheung stressed that the Labor Department attached great importance to the safety performance of the catering industry and had been raising the standards through legislation, law enforcement, training, education and promotion.

"Serious injuries will lead to civil claims for huge damages. They also strike a serious blow to staff morale. Catering establishments must therefore adopt proper safety measures to ensure employees' work safety and health; employees on the other hand must observe the safety rules," Cheung said.

The Labor Department and the Occupational Safety and Health Council have organized the well-received Catering Industry Safety Award Scheme for the fifth year. This year, a total of 164 eligible catering establishments joined it, an increase of 16 percent over last year.
(Xinhua News Agency February 9, 2004)

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