Council Meetings (Oral Question): Industrial Accidents under Inclement Weather(2010.01.06)

MR CHAN KIN-POR (in Cantonese): As we all know, it is expected that climate will become increasingly extreme because the whole world is subject to the impact of climate change. In other words, places in the hot region will become hotter, places in the cold region will become colder while typhoons will become stronger in regions frequently hit by typhoons, thus leading to more serious casualties and loss of property. May I ask the Government whether it will review the measures of assuring employees’ safety in the light of the trend of extreme climate change?

SECRETARY FOR LABOUR AND WELFARE (in Cantonese): Deputy President, very often, high-risk industries such as container-handling industries or outdoor workers will be informed of the latest weather conditions through the Hong Kong Observatory’s weather reports or special weather reports. If Members have noticed, broadcasting is frequently made by the Government which paid attention to the wind speed everyday because our work often rely on such information. In this regard, we will continue to work through such a channel. However, the most crucial factor is the conditions of the scene which may change from time to time and employers are obliged to assess the risks. As for high-risk industries which may involve outdoor work, our legislation has basically provided that employers are obliged to provide a safe working environment, relevant equipment and devices, and ensure that the systems are safe. Employers in breach of the provisions may be prosecuted if there is sufficient evidence and liable to a maximum fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for six months.

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