Secretary for Labour and Welfare addresses provisions for construction employees working after consuming alcohol

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5th May 2021 – (Hong Kong)  The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong said in the Legislative Council meeting today that the existing occupational safety and health (OSH) legislation does not have specific provisions to prohibit construction workers from working after consuming alcohol, or from consuming alcohol at work. However, the general duty provisions of the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance (Cap. 59) and the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance (Cap. 509) provide that proprietors/employers shall, so far as reasonably practicable, provide necessary instruction and supervision to ensure the safety and health of employees at work. Pursuant to the provisions, contractors of the construction industry shall formulate and implement management policy to prevent the influence of alcohol on the OSH of employees and workplaces, including securing the cooperation of employees to implement the relevant policy. The maximum penalty for breaching the above requirements is a fine of HK$500,000 and imprisonment for six months. 

  As far as employees are concerned, the above legislation also requires employees at work to, so far as reasonably practicable, take care of the OSH of themselves and other persons, and cooperate with their employers or other persons to ensure the OSH of employees on construction sites. Hence, construction employees have the responsibility to ensure that they are not influenced by alcohol at work so as to prevent accidents. The maximum penalty for breaching the above requirements is a fine of HK$50,000 and imprisonment for six months.

To help employers and employees understand their OSH obligations to prevent the influence of alcohol in workplaces, the Occupational Safety and Health Council and the LD issued “Management of alcohol and drugs in the workplace” (Chinese version only) and “Safety Handbook for Construction Site Workers” etc. respectively. These publications help contractors and employees comply with the relevant requirements in OSH legislation, and understand the influence of alcohol on the safety and health at work so as to prevent the occurrence of accidents.

During routine inspections and accident investigations, LD officers will pay attention to whether contractors and employees at construction sites comply with the above requirements. The LD will take enforcement actions if there is violation of OSH legislation.

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