Date : 25th May 1999

The Hon Ronald Arculli
Bills Committee on
Factories and Industrial Undertakings(Amendment) Bill 1999
Legislative Council
The People's Republic of China
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

Dear Sir,

Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Amendment) Bill 1999

Thank you for passing the response from the Administration to the submissions from various organizations but it is disappointing to note the impervious attitude to the feedback from the industries affected. The response does not produce any supporting reasons or counter-argument to the opinions given by the organizations including ourselves.

We therefore feel that it is necessary to repeat and reinforce our views on some of the potential pit-falls in the proposed legislation for your consideration:

Paragraph 23 - Eligibility for registration of safety auditor

Allowing a lower requirement for registration of safety auditor in the first six months will only result in a sufficient (if not abundant) supply of under-qualified safety auditor. The Polytechnic University and the City University have trained at least 200 candidates who are eligible for registration and we do not see a shortage at the initial stage of the application of the regulations. After all, we would rather have a delayed implementation of the law than a hasty but substandard system in place.

Paragraph 29 - Composition, etc. of safety committee

Whilst we do not object "workers" to be present in safety committees, we feel the option should be left to the proprietor rather than strictly fixing the ratio by law.

Paragraph 30 - Appointment of registered safety auditor to conduct safety audit

Our strongest objection, which is shared by a few organizations making representations, is to allow auditors who are employees of the proprietor to conduct the audit. An employee of a proprietor cannot have an efficacious conduct of the audit for the mere fact that he has, by virtue of his employment, a vested interest in the company. If his report could be used in future as evidence in Court to show that his employer is at fault, he is obligated to, or at least inclined to make a biased observation.

Paragraph 31 - Submission of safety audit report
Paragraph 21 - Action to be taken on safety audit report

If the administration insists, we have no further objection but would point out these are repetitious and environmentally unfriendly

Paragraph 33 - Registered safety auditor to notify Commissioner of proposed safety audit

The duty to engage safety audits is with the proprietor and he has to engage an auditor once every six months to discharge his legal obligation. It goes without saying that he would have to inform the Commissioner that he has done so. He determines the timing and arrangement of the audit and not the auditor.

Paragraph 34 - The Requirement for Safety Review Officer

We do not agree that it will make the Regulations overly complicated by including the requirement for Safety Review Officer, which is a single sentence as shown below. Specifying such in the Code of Practice deprives the opportunity of it being examined and vetted by the Legislative Council and the public at large. It will also have a less legal authority and makes enforcement difficult. We would strongly request that the qualification to become a Safety Review Officer be included into the Regulations.

A Safety Review Officer should be a Registered Safety Officer who has received the same training as a Safety Auditor and at least 2 years experience as a Safety Officer.

Once again, we thank you for giving us the opportunity to offer our views and suggestions.

Yours sincerely,
For and on behalf of
Society of Accredited Safety Auditors Ltd.

Y Y Wong