Stakeholders in the construction industry are urged to actively participate in the Government's territory-wide campaign to promote cleanliness and hygiene as part of the efforts to enhance Hong Kong's preparedness for human swine influenza.
Speaking at the Considerate Contractors Site Award Scheme 2008 award presentation ceremony today (May 11), the Permanent Secretary for Development (Works), Mr Mak Chai-kwong, said extra steps should be taken to promote environmental and hygienic conditions at construction sites to guard against this worldwide pandemic threat.
Mr Mak also said the Government would spare no effort in improving the safety performance of Hong Kong's construction industry.
"We could all contribute to site safety which should not be seen as only a set of rules or compliance with procedures. Site safety is in fact everyone's duty.
"The Construction Industry Council (CIC) issued three safety guidelines covering safety of tower cranes, safety measures for working in hot weather and safety of site vehicles and mobile plants in June last year. We will continue to work with CIC to implement these guidelines in order to enhance the safety performance on sites."
Mr Mak said with the implementation of the safety management system in public works contracts, the accident rate had been reduced considerably in the past decade.
"The accident rate per thousand workers in 2008 dropped to 12.2, a fall by about 76% compared with the accident rate of 50.8 per thousand workers in 1998.
"In order to further improve our safety performance, we are considering measures to reduce accidents through behavioural changes in workers and the development of a positive safety culture."
A pilot scheme has been launched on the trial adoption of two tool kits - the "Construction Industry Safety Climate Index Survey (SCI)" and "Work Safe Behaviour Programme (WSB)" - developed by the Occupational Safety and Health Council. The SCI aims to reflect the employees' perceptions of safety and health in their organisation. Through assessing their SCI, contractors will be able to prescribe suitable measures to enhance safety. The WSB, meanwhile, provides a systematic approach to monitor and correct the work behaviour of workers.
"We will gauge the effectiveness of the SCI and WSB programmes when the pilot scheme completes later this year, with a view to extending their application in public works projects," Mr Mak said.
The Considerate Contractors Site Award Scheme, launched by the Government in 1995, recognises and commends contractors who have taken a considerate and proactive attitude towards a high level of safety and environmental performance in their construction sites.
The 2008 award scheme was well received by the industry. A record high of 159 entries was received. Among them, 61 received the Considerate Contractors Site Award, and 26 received Outstanding Environmental Management and Performance Awards.
Ends/Monday, May 11, 2009
Issued at HKT 19:26