Occupational Safety and Health in Hong Kong
"Every employer must, so far as reasonably practicable, ensure the safety and health at work at all his employees."
In Hong Kong OSH Ordinance and Regulations regulate safety and health at work of all economic activities which include both industrial and non-industrial organizations. The scope of OSH applications has been expanded to cover non-industrial workplace which include offices, commercial premises, educational institutions, clinics, laboratories and other workplaces. The legislation imposes general duty of care on employers, occupiers of premises and employees, and set down basic requirements in accident prevention, fire prevention, working environment, workplace hygiene, first aid, manual handling operation and use of display screen equipment.
Factories and Industrial Undertakings (F&IU) Ordinance and its Subsidiary Regulations
The Factory and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance (Cap 59) came into effect in September 1955 in Hong Kong. The Ordinance covered industrial workplaces such as factories and construction sites and to the employment of women, young persons and children therein.
Key Relevant Areas:
• Confined Spaces
• Dangerous Substances
• Guarding and Operation of Machinery
• Gas Welding and Flame Cutting
• Load shifting Machinery
• Noise at Work
• Protection of Eyes
• Working at Heights
• Safety Management
Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance (Cap 509)
In May 1997, the Occupational Safety and Health had significantly development which the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance (Cap 509) came into effect and the Ordinance covered all workplaces.
The purposes of this Ordinance are as follows:
(a) to ensure the safety and health of employees when they are at work;
(b) to prescribe measures that will contribute to making the workplaces of employees safer and healthier for them;
(c) to improve the safety and health standards applicable to certain hazardous processes, plant and substances used or kept in workplaces;
(d) generally to improve the safety and health aspects of working environments of employees
(Source: Labour Department of HKSAR)
I. Major Area of OSH Ordinance (Cap 509) and Subsidiary Regulations include:
1) Accident Prevention
2) Fire Precautions
3) Workplace Environments
4) Hygiene at Workplace
5) First Aid at Workplace
6) Manual Handling Operations
OSH (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations
II. General Duties of Employers
Every employer must so far as reasonably practicable, ensure the safety and health at work of all his employees. His duties include:
1. Provide and maintain plant and system of work – safe and without risks to health
2. Make arrangement for ensuring safety and absence of risks to health – use, handling, storage or transport of plant or substances
3. Provide information, instruction, training and supervision – ensure health and safety at work
4. Access and egress – safe and without risks to health; and
5. Provide and maintain workplace and working environment – safe and without risks to health.
III. General Duties of Employees
• Must so far as reasonably practicable, take care for the safety and health of himself and of other persons who are at the workplace.
• Co-operate with his employer or other person so far as may be necessary to enable safety and health requirements are complied with.
Assess the risks of a particular work activity or environment
Physical difficulties, time, expenses and even trouble which could be involved in taking steps to avoid the risks
Integrating OSH into Other Management Functions
Factories and Industrial Undertakings F&IU (Safety Management) Regulation
The regulation was approved in November 1999 and it includes a total of 14 elements with a total of three parts. It provides for the introduction of a safety management system by the proprietors and contractors of selected industrial undertakings. Herewith the brief description of the 14 elements:
Safety Policy: A safety policy which states the commitment of the proprietor or contractor to safety and health at work.
Organisational Structure: A structure to assure implementation of the commitment to safety and health at work.
Safety Training: Training to equip personnel with knowledge to work safely and without risk to health.
In-house Safety Rules: In-house safety rules to provide instruction for achieving safety management objectives.
Inspection Programme: A programme of inspection to identify hazardous conditions and for the rectification of any such conditions at regular intervals or as appropriate.
Hazard Control Programme: A programme to identify hazardous exposure or the risk of such exposure to the workers and to provide suitable personal protective equipment as a last resort where engineering control methods are not feasible.
Accident/Incident Investigation: Investigation of accidents or incidents to find out the cause of any accident or incident and to develop prompt arrangements to prevent recurrence.
Emergency Preparedness: Emergency preparedness to develop, communicate and execute plans prescribing the effective management of emergency situations.
Evaluation, Selection and Control of Sub-contractors: Evaluation, selection and control of sub-contractors to ensure that sub-contractors are fully aware of their safety obligations and are in fact meeting them.
Job-hazard Analysis: Evaluation of job related hazards or potential hazards and development of safety procedures.
Safety and Health Awareness: Promotion, development and maintenance of safety and health awareness in a workplace.
Accident Control and Hazard Elimination: A programme for accident control and elimination of hazards before exposing workers to any adverse work environment.
Occupational Health Assurance Programme: A programme to protect workers from occupational health hazard.
(Source: CAP 59F Factories And Industrial Undertakings (Safety Management) Regulation)