The Labour Department (LD) is highly concerned about a fatal work accident that happened at Tsim Sha Tsui Austin Road West this morning (September 24), in which two workers were injured while working in an underground cooling main. Both workers were certified dead later in a hospital. The LD is saddened by the death of the workers and expresses its deepest sympathies to the victims' families.
The LD's spokesman said, "We commenced an immediate on-site investigation as soon as we were notified of the accident and will issue suspension notices to the contractors concerned, suspending all works in the cooling main. They cannot resume the work process until the LD is satisfied that measures to abate the relevant risk have been taken."
The spokesman added, "We will complete investigation as soon as possible to identify the cause of the accident, ascertain the liability of the duty holders and recommend improvement measures. We will take actions pursuant to the law if there is any violation of the work safety legislation."
The general duty provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance require employers to provide safe working environments, plant and systems of work for their employees. Those who contravene the relevant provisions are liable to a maximum fine of $10 million and imprisonment for two years on conviction on indictment; or $3 million and imprisonment for six months on summary conviction.
In regard to today's accident, the LD will issue a Work Safety Alert through its website and by email, giving a brief account of the accident concerned to duty holders, workers' unions, professional bodies of safety practitioners and others, and reminding the industry of the importance of following safety precautionary measures to prevent a recurrence of similar accidents.
The LD will also remind the employer concerned of the liability for employees' compensation under the Employees' Compensation Ordinance, assist family members of the deceased to claim employees' compensation and closely follow up on the case. For those with financial difficulties, the LD will assist them to apply for appropriate emergency funds. Subject to the needs and wishes of family members of the deceased, the LD will also liaise with the Social Welfare Department for financial or other assistance.
For the sake of securing the safety and health of employees at work, the LD appeals to employers to provide plant and systems of work that are safe and without risks to health. Employees should co-operate with their employers, adopt all safety measures and use personal protective equipment provided properly to avoid endangering their own work safety and that of other workers.
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