Council Meetings (Oral Question): Heat Stress at Working Warning (2023.07.05)

MR CHAN KIN-POR (in Cantonese): Thank you, President. In Hong Kong, the Heat Stress at Work Warning does not only focus on temperature, but also takes humidity, wind speed and radiation level into account, which is very scientific. However, changes in these factors can be very frequent, and in fact, they can easily cause confusion, putting employers and employees at a loss as to what they should do. Moreover, as humidity and wind speed vary from district to district, and so do conditions of different construction sites, why do we not make things simpler by following the practice in some places, such as directly using temperature as the criterion?

SECRETARY FOR LABOUR AND WELFARE (in Cantonese): President, I thank Mr CHAN Kin-por for his supplementary question. As regards the situation in Hong Kong, we really think that in determining the risks of heat stroke, we should not only focus on temperature, but also consider humidity and solar radiation. In compiling HKHI, the Hong Kong Observatory (“HKO”) collaborated with the Faculty of Medicine of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the risk of hospitalization was also included in their scope of study. Using temperature as the sole criterion may not completely suit the situation in Hong Kong because sometimes, the risks of heat stroke are not exactly the same under the same temperature but with different humidity levels.

Hence, after detailed discussions and considering various scientific data, we have proposed to adopt HKHI, which is already available in Hong Kong and compiled by HKO, as the basis for issuing the Heat Stress at Work Warning because we consider it more appropriate and suitable for the purpose of Hong Kong. Thank you, President.

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