Labour Department expresses deep concern over tragic fatal work accident in Kai Tak

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20th February 2024 – (Hong Kong) The Labour Department (LD) has expressed deep concern over a fatal work accident that occurred at a construction site in Kai Tak. The incident took place this afternoon when a bamboo scaffold attached to the exterior wall of a building suddenly collapsed. Regrettably, two female workers lost their lives, while three others sustained injuries. The LD extends its heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a swift recovery to the injured workers.

In response to the accident, a spokesperson from the LD stated, “Upon receiving notification of the accident, we initiated an immediate on-site investigation. Suspension notices have been issued to the relevant contractors, halting the erection, alteration, dismantling, and use of bamboo scaffolds on the exterior walls of the building. The contractors will not be allowed to resume work until the LD is satisfied that the necessary measures to mitigate risks have been implemented.”

The spokesperson further added, “We are committed to conducting a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the accident, establish the liability of those responsible, and propose improvement measures. If any violations of work safety legislation are identified, appropriate actions will be taken in accordance with the law.”

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance, employers are obligated to provide a safe working environment, as well as safe plant and systems of work for their employees. Violations of these provisions can result in a maximum fine of $10 million and imprisonment for two years upon conviction, or a HK$3 million fine and six months’ imprisonment upon summary conviction.

In response to today’s tragic incident, the LD will issue a Work Safety Alert through its website and via email to duty holders, workers’ unions, professional safety practitioners, and other relevant parties. The alert will provide a brief overview of the accident and serve as a reminder to the industry about the crucial importance of adhering to safety precautions to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

The LD will also remind the employer involved in the accident about their responsibility to provide employees’ compensation as stipulated in the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance. Assistance will be offered to the deceased workers’ family members in filing claims for employees’ compensation, and the LD will closely monitor the case. For those facing financial difficulties, the LD will provide support in applying for appropriate emergency funds. Additionally, in coordination with the wishes of the bereaved families, the LD will liaise with the Social Welfare Department to explore options for financial or other forms of assistance.