Safety Experts Call for a "Radical Rethink"

Safety Experts Call for a "Radical Rethink" 
HONG KONG -- (Marketwired) -- 04/26/13 --  Safety experts called for
a "radical rethink" when it comes to construction health and safety,
at an event held in Hong Kong, today (26 April 2013). 
Experts from the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH)
Hong Kong Branch issued the warning following an increase in the
number of accidents, injury and fatalities in the industry. 
Dr Sammy Wan, chair of the IOSH Hong Kong Branch, said: "In the next
few years the public infrastructure expenditure in Hong Kong is
estimated to exceed HK$70 billion annually.  
"With a number of sizable projects approaching their construction
peak, it's vital we see better protection of workers through
excellent safety performance to reduce the risk of fatality, injury
and illness in the workplace -- even one death is one too many." 
In 2011, 23 people were killed in the construction industry, in
comparison to nine during the previous year.  
Dr Wan added: "It's disheartening that accidents in the construction
industry claimed 24 lives in 2012. There is always room for
improvement when it comes to occupational health and safety. 
"With so much construction currently taking place, employers need to
ensure health and safety is paramount and that corners aren't being
cut. A radical rethink is needed when it comes to construction
safety, therefore today's event is about encouraging safety
leadership in order to make appropriate decisions and plan a
realistic approach." 
In late 2012, an inflated pipe plug inside a sewage outfall pipe
suddenly ruptured during the concreting process and causing the death
of one worker and injuries to two. At the beginning of March this
year, seven people were critically injured when a lift suddenly
plunged after all four cables broke -- it is accidents like this the
IOSH Hong Kong Branch is trying to prevent. 
Michael Fong, chief assistant secretary in Development Bureau (Works)
for the Government of HKSAR, who spoke at the event, said: "The Hong
Kong Government has been attaching great importance to construction
safety. With the joint efforts of the Government and the industry, we
have seen a continuous downward trend of construction accident rates
since 1990s but the accident rates have reached a plateau in recent
"There is a clear need for a critical re-think of our safety
strategies and measures. The IOSH's Conference is the most timely
event to bring together a group of top edge safety experts to discuss
on these important matters." 
More than 130 delegates attended the IOSH Hong Kong Branch's Annual
Safety Conference 2013: Radical rethinking of safety leadership and
planning towards excellence. Besides Michael Fong, speakers at the
event included, Joseph Mak, chief structural engineer for the Housing
Department, Government of HKSAR, Ir Prof Steve Rowlinson, from the
University of Hong Kong, Ir Alex Lau, senior manager of operations
and occupational safety, MTR Corporation Limited, Ir Desmond Sze,
Operations Manager, Leighton Contractors (Asia) Limited and Tim
Briggs, IOSH president-elect. 
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is the Chartered body for health and safety professionals. With more
than 42,000 members in 100 countries, we're the world's largest
professional health and safety organisation. 
We set standards, and support, develop and connect our members with
resources, guidance, events and training. We're the voice of the
profession, and campaign on issues that affect millions of working
IOSH was founded in 1945 and is a registered charity with
international NGO status. 
Media enquiries
For more information, please contact:
Amy Chappell
Media Officer
Phone: +44 (0)116 257 3141 
or +44 (0)798 000 4494 
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