16th April, 1999

Mrs. Constance Li
Clerk to Bills Committee
Legislative Council
The People's Republic of China
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

Dear Mrs. Li,

Bills Committee on Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Amendment) Bill 1999

Thank you for your letter dated 01/04/99 providing an opportunity for us to make submission on the F&IU Bill (the Bill) and the F&IU (Safety Management) Regulation (the Regulation) to the Bill Committee members for their kind consideration whilst reviewing and reading the Bill and the Regulation

Basically, HKCA supports the changes proposed in the Bill and the Regulation; a submission on the Bill and the Regulation to show our major concern is enclosed for your perusal.

Furthermore, we are pleased to inform you that 3 representatives from HKCA will attend the meeting on 20 April 1999, they are:

1. Mr. Louis Wong Vice President of HKCA
2. Mr. Patrick ChanSecretary General of HKCA
3. Mr. Peter TongMember of HKCA Labour Training, Health & Safety Committee

Should you have any inquiries on the submission, please feel free to contact Peter Tong at 2398 4700, he will be more than happy to give help.

Warmest Regards!

Yours faithfully,

Louis Wong
Vice Chairman


Submissions of the Hong Kong Construction Association (HKCA) on the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Amendment) Bill 1999 and Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Safety Management) Regulation

In general the HKCA supports the changes proposed in the Bill and the proposed Regulations. Our submissions are mainly providing our views and observations on the Amendment Bill and the proposed Regulations to the Bills Committee Members for their consideration whilst reviewing and reading the proposed materials.

The Proposed Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Amendment) Bill 1999 Mandatory Safety Training

HKCA understands that many companies have employed registered safety officers who are able to conduct various safety training for workers, probably in smaller classes and in a more flexible time table than the CITA and VTC as suggested. It is also the duties and responsibilities of safety officers to conduct safety training as laid down in the F&IU (Safety Officers and Safety Supervisors) Regulations. HKCA suggested that the legislation should allow contractors to run safety-training courses for workers on their own.

The Proposed Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Safety Management) Regulations

1. Whilst the Regulations is written with an ultimate intention to apply to all industries, the immediate target is no doubt the construction industry. The unique characteristic of the construction industry must therefore be taken into consideration when drafting the regulations to avoid ambiguity and misunderstanding, such as multi-work locations, fluctuating work-force, large turnover of workers, etc. The use of number of workers appears to be an over-simplified criteria.

2. Safety Management, unlike technical requirement for safety, is difficult to measure. Whilst the latter can return with a definite "YES" or "NO" as the provision of barriers to a floor edge, the former is difficult to assess on its level of compliance, e.g. the development, implementation and maintenance of a safety management system (Regulation 8). With such, we feel that imprisonment sentence in failing to comply with these regulations make it difficult to enforce and serve no useful purpose. After all, the concept behind this regulation is "self regulatory" and the heavy penalty may not be in line with the spirit of the whole exercise. We propose that financial penalty will suffice.

3. In Schedule 1, item 3, we do not agree that application to be safety auditors within six months of the commencement of the regulations can be exempted from the possession of specified qualifications as a Registered Safety Officer and experience. This will create a batch of under-qualified auditors. If sufficient grace period is given before the commencement of the Regulations, there should be sufficient time for potential auditors to acquire the necessary qualification.

4. There is no specific qualification and training requirement for Safety Review Officer and this is absurd! The only checkpoint is for the Commissioner to request him to be replaced. This is clumsy and inefficient. Why not require them to possess safety qualification in the first instance?

Date: 15th April, 1999 (HSE/l99-022)