LC Paper No. LS90/98-99
Paper for the House Committee Meeting
of the Legislative Council
on 29 January 1999
Legal Service Division Report on
Factories and Industrial Undertakings
(Amendment) Bill 1999
Object(s) of the Bill
The Bill proposes to -
LegCo Brief Reference
- empower the Commissioner for Labour ("Commissioner") to approve safety training courses for construction work and container handling;
- require a proprietor of an industrial undertaking in construction work or container handling not to employ a worker who does not have a valid certificate issued in respect of the latter's attendance at a relevant safety training course; and
- empower the Commissioner to make regulations to provide for safety management systems in industrial undertakings.
2. EMBCR 2/2961/95 dated 15 January 1999 issued by the Education and Manpower Bureau.Date of First Reading
3. 27 January 1999.Comments
4. Under section 6A of the existing Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance (Cap. 59) ("Ordinance"), every proprietor of an industrial undertaking already has a general duty to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable the health and safety at work of his workers, including the provision of safety training for them. Failure to discharge this duty, if wilful and without reasonable excuse, is punishable with a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for 6 months.
5. There is no proposal in the Bill to alter in any way this general duty on proprietors. However, the Administration admits that in practice, since there is no specific clause on mandatory provision of safety training in the Ordinance, few proprietors and contractors in the private sector actually provide such training to their workers.
6. The Bill now proposes to make safety training mandatory, as a start, in the construction and container handling industries. However, the Commissioner is empowered to specify, if need be, other industries to which the mandatory safety training requirement should extend.
7. The essence of the statutory scheme is to require the proprietors of industrial undertakings in the construction and container handling industries to employ only those persons who have attended approved safety training courses and hold a valid certificate of their attendance.
8. The workers would also have to carry the certificate (the green card) at work and produce it for inspection. The certificate will at most be valid for 3 years.
9. The Commissioner will be responsible for approving a certificated safety training course and for issuing a certificate in respect of other equivalent training courses for the purpose of the scheme.
10. The scheme will take effect from an appointed day after the Bill is enacted so as to allow a grace period before the coming into force of the scheme.
11. The Bill will also empower the Commissioner to make regulations for the implementation of safety management systems in industrial undertakings. These regulations could require proprietors and contractors to put in place a safety management system in their undertakings, the registration of safety auditors, the specification of the quality and performance of safety auditors and the appointment of a disciplinary board. A draft of the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Safety Management) Regulation is at Annex B of the LegCo Brief.
12. The relevant industries and advisory boards haven been consulted. Details are set out in paragraphs 25 and 26 of the LegCo Brief.
Consultation with LegCo Panel
13. The LegCo Panel on Manpower was briefed by the Administration on the Bill on 7 January 1999.
14. A written submission from the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions on the Bill and the Regulation (LC Paper No. CB(2)1029/98-99(01)) has been received by the Panel on Manpower.
15. The changes introduced by the Bill will have an important impact on the future of industrial safety in Hong Kong. It is essential that the proposals should be studied carefully by Members.
CHEUNG Ping-Kam, Arthur
Assistant Legal Adviser
Legislative Council Secretariat
26 January 1999