Hong Kong's safety performance at work continued to improve thanks to the concerted efforts of all parties concerned including the government, employers, employees, contractors and safety professionals, said an official on Friday.
Hong Kong's Permanent Secretary for Economic Development and Labor, Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said the number of industrial accidents for all sectors in 2003 was 17,249, a drop of 23.2 percent from 2002.
The accident rate per 1,000 workers declined 16.2 percent from 37.4 in 2002 to 31.3 in 2003.
Of all industries, the construction industry had made the most substantial improvement in safety performance. The number of industrial accidents in the trade dived 30 percent from 6,239 in 2002 to 4,367 in 2003. The accident rate per 1,000 workers also declined 20.1 percent from 85.2 in 2002 to 68.1 in 2003.
In 2003, the catering industry recorded 8,527 industrial accidents, a decrease of 16 percent from 2002. The accident rate per 1,000 workers also went down 9.4 percent to 49.6 in 2003.
A downward trend was also witnessed in the number and incidence of confirmed occupational diseases. The number of cases dropped from 364 in 2002 to 258 in 2003, with the incidence rate per 100,000 employed workers down from 14.8 in 2002 to 10.9 in 2003.
Cheung stressed that the Labor Department was committed to improving safety and health at work through enforcement, promotion and education.
On the recent enforcement work by the department, he said: "We have been conducting a month-long intensive blitz operation covering all construction sites involving erection, dismantling and use of truss-out bamboo scaffolds since March 15. Up to April 8, 615 sites have been inspected."
"At the same time, the department has strengthened its cooperation with property management companies in order to obtain the schedules for lift maintenance and the use of truss-out bamboo scaffolding in renovating buildings' external walls as soon as possible to follow up on safety matters," said Cheung.
Cheung noted that despite the improvement in safety performance, the government would keep up its efforts in minimizing the accident toll.
(Xinhua News Agency April 17, 2004)