Legislative Council

LC Paper No. LS33/98-99

Paper for the House Committee Meeting
of the Legislative Council
on 18 July 1998

Legal Service Division Report on a Motion
under Section 7 of the Factories and
Industrial Undertakings Ordinance (Cap. 59)

The Secretary for Education and Manpower has given notice to move a motion on 30 September 1998 to approve the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Confined Spaces) Regulation made by the Commissioner for Labour on 15 September, 1998.

2. The new Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Confined Spaces) Regulation, when it takes effect on a date to be appointed, will replace the existing Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Confined Spaces) Regulation. In his draft speech attached to the notice of motion, the Secretary indicates that the Administration proposes a grace period of 12 months upon the enactment of the new Regulation before it takes effect.

3. Under section 7 of the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance (Cap. 59), the new Regulation has to be approved by the Legislative Council by resolution after it has been made by the Commissioner for Labour.

4. The purpose of the new Regulation, as explained in the draft speech, is to overcome enforcement difficulties under the existing Regulation and to provide better protection for workers operating in confined spaces.

5. Compared with the existing Regulation, the new Regulation will re-define confined space�with more clarity for easier enforcement. It will also introduce additional safety measures such as :-

  1. risk assessment by a competent person;

  2. the proprietor or contractor to ensure safety precautions are taken, including the requirement to wear, where necessary, an approved breathing apparatus and a safety harness connected to a lifeline;

  3. only certified workers to work in confined spaces; and

  4. the provision of emergency procedures.

6. The Administration will brief the Panel on Manpower on 24 September 1998 about the new Regulation.

7. There is an erroneous reference to section 5(4) in section 14(2)(a) of the new Regulation. The correct reference should be section 5(5) and the Administration has been duly informed. Technically speaking, the draft Resolution and the new Regulation are otherwise in order.

Prepared by

CHEUNG Ping-kam, Arthur
Assistant Legal Adviser
Legislative Council Secretariat
17 September 1998