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Concerted effort helps improve construction safety

The concerted efforts of all parties concerned had significantly improved the safety performance of the construction industry but there was no room for complacency, the Permanent Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works (Works), Mr Mak Chai-kwong, said today (May 4).

Speaking at the Considerate Contractors Site Award Scheme 2006 award presentation ceremony, Mr Mak said that for the construction industry as a whole, the improvement in safety had been remarkable. "The accident rate per thousand workers dropped from 233 in 1995 to about 60 in 2005, down by about 74%," Mr Mak said.  

For the public works contracts, the number fell continuously from 58 in 1995 to 13 in 2006, down by about 78%.

Despite the achievements, Mr Mak pointed out that the number of fatalities in the construction industry remained relatively high. There were 16 fatalities last year and seven of them were from public works projects.

To further uplift the safety performance of the construction industry, the bureau had taken a number of safety initiatives.

"We are revising the marking scheme to take into account the number of fatal accidents incurred by a contractor for tender evaluation.

"This is for the obvious reason that we want to encourage contractors to put more efforts in accident prevention as well as reducing the severity of the accidents," Mr Mak said.

In addition, the bureau planned to introduce contractual provisions requiring contractor's front line management and supervisors to attend specific safety training to further enhance their awareness and knowledge on safety issues.  A similar training requirement has already been implemented for the Government's supervisory staff.

The 2006 award scheme received 127 entries.  Among them, 54 received the Considerate Contractors Site Award, including 23 from public works projects and 31 from non-public works sector.  In addition, 22 of the entry sites received an award for their outstanding environmental management performance.

Other officiating guests included the Permanent Secretary for Economic Development and Labour (Labour), Mr Paul Tang; the Director of Buildings, Mr Cheung Hau-wai; Deputy Director of Housing, Ms Ada Fung; the President of the Hong Kong Construction Association, Mr Conrad Wong; the President of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, Mr Wong Kwok-lai; the President of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, Dr Donald Lu; and the President of Hong Kong General Building Contractors Association, Mr Joseph Ng.

Ends/Friday, May 4, 2007