New initiatives for better working environment at construction sites

The Works Bureau (WB) has set out three initiatives for this year to improve the safety and working environment at construction sites.

This was revealed by the Secretary for Works, Mr Lee Shing-see, at the Considerate Contractors Site Award Scheme 2001 Award Presentation Ceremony this (March 25) afternoon.

"The first initiative is to step up the effort on cleanliness and tidiness at construction sites," Mr Lee said.

He explained that for tenders to be invited after mid April 2002, awarded contractors would have to comply with an enhanced specification which would require the contractors to carry out daily and weekly overall cleaning and tidying up of the sites.

"Payment will be made to contractors under a separate Bill of Quantities upon their satisfactory performance on site cleanliness and tidiness," he added.

Mr Lee also disclosed that to improve the safety at construction sites, a Site Safety Cycle Scheme in public works contracts under the Pay for Safety Scheme would be implemented this year.

The purpose of such scheme is to raise the safety awareness of site personnel, in particular construction workers, and to enhance management at site level especially on safety and tidiness to reduce accidents.

Another initiative is to enhance the implementation of waste management plan and introduce measures abating environmental nuisance for construction projects.

The proposal under consideration included the integration of monitoring and control of waste management into the daily administration of the project. Consideration would also be given to new measures for reducing, reusing and recycling construction waste, and for abating environmental nuisance caused by construction works.

Turning to construction site safety, Mr Lee noted that the safety performance for public works contracts had been continuously improving for a number of years.

The accident rate for public works contracts was reduced to 33 accidents per 1,000 workers in 2001, representing a further reduction of 28% of accident rates as compared with that in 2000.

In 1999 and 2000, the annual accident rates for public works contracts were 55 and 46 accidents per 1,000 workers respectively.

"While we are largely satisfied with the overall safety performance of public works contractors, there is no place for complacency," Mr Lee said.

"Safety is a shared responsibility of the top management as well as frontline workers," he said.

The Secretary said that there had been a strong public desire that Government should upgrade construction site safety and cleanliness.

He said the Considerate Contractors Site Award Scheme, organised by the WB and well received from the construction industry since 1995, was an initiative in response to this public inspiration.

"We wish to develop a considerate culture across the construction industry so that contractors not only care for their own welfare, but also other people in their neighbourhood," he added.

Out of 110 sites participating in the award scheme, a total of 40 sites received the awards today, including 20 public sites and 20 private sector sites.

The officiating guests at today's ceremony included Chairman of the Provisional Construction Industry Co-ordination Board, the Hon. Henry Tang; Director of Buildings, Mr Leung Chin-man; Commissioner for Labour, Mrs Pamela Tan; and Deputy Director of Environmental Protection, Mr Mike Stokoe.

Also included were President of the Hong Kong Construction Association, Mr Billy Wong; Vice-President of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, Dr Alex Chan and Vice-President of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, Mr Bernard Hui.

End/Monday, March 25, 2002