Evening press conference by multiple departments unveils scaffold collapse at Kai Tak, four struck during installation

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20th February 2024 – (Hong Kong) A scaffolding collapse at the Shing Fung Lane construction site for the Pano Harbour residential project in Kowloon has led to the death of two workers and injured three others this afternoon. The multi-departmental press conference held this evening revealed details of the accident and the initial response by authorities.

At approximately 4.56pm, a 15-meter by 8-meter bamboo scaffold, situated on the exterior of the 19th floor, catastrophically failed, plummeting to the ground below. The collapse occurred as a female worker was installing aluminium panels and glass on the facade of the building. Four workers, who were passing by the site at the time, were struck by the falling debris.

The Labour Department has promptly launched an investigation into the incident, with Murphy Yuen, Assistant Commissioner for Occupational Safety (Operations), expressing deep sorrow over the loss and injuries sustained, and offering condolences to the families affected. While the cause of the collapse remains undetermined, the Labour Department has issued a temporary suspension notice to the contractor, halting all work involving scaffolding on the site.

Yuen emphasised that the focus of the ongoing inquiry includes the design, erection, use, and inspection of the scaffold. He stated that it is too early to draw conclusions. Additionally, he highlighted that the department had previously issued a press release reminding industry stakeholders to conduct thorough inspections, including scaffolding checks, after the Lunar New Year holiday to ensure safety.

The contractor’s record indicates no previous fatal or serious industrial accidents at this site. However, this particular contractor had been involved in two fatal industrial accidents in 2022, prompting the Labour Department to intensify inspections of their projects.

Mary Chan Yuen-ming, Chief Officer/Technical Services for the Buildings Department, expressed grave concern over the incident and extended heartfelt sympathies to the bereaved and the injured. She assured that the Buildings Department would continue to investigate the cause of the accident and would take serious action against any breaches of the Building Ordinance, including referring contractors to the disciplinary board for hearings.

The Police Force, represented by Senior Inspector Kwok Ching Yee of the East Kowloon Regional Crime Unit, reported that a site safety officer had alerted them to the collapse. The police, in coordination with various departments and experts, are conducting a thorough investigation. If evidence of human negligence is found, criminal investigations and prosecutions will ensue.

The Fire Services Department, led by Acting Assistant Divisional Officer Lee Siu-fai, responded to the collapse swiftly, deploying 14 fire engines, 11 ambulances, and 79 personnel, including the Disaster Response and Rescue Squad. They faced the harrowing task of rescuing two trapped individuals and ensuring the safety of approximately 900 people who self-evacuated to safe locations.

Senior Ambulance Officer Chan Wai-cheong from the Fire Services Department reported that the two fatalities, a male and a female, were found without vital signs and were pronounced dead at United Christian Hospital. The three other injured individuals, including two in serious condition, are currently hospitalised with injuries ranging from fractures to contusions.

In mid-January 2023, a 2,088 sq ft flat in Pano Harbour was sold by China Resources Land (Overseas) and Poly Property for HK$105.6 million (US$13.5 million), amounting to HK$50,561 per sq ft.