Labour Department's response to report on industrial accidents in relation to Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge project

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      The episode of "Hong Kong Connection" broadcast yesterday (August 7) reported on the follow-up actions on the industrial accidents that happened at the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) project. The report touched on the procedure and time required for issue of a death certificate, the provision of relevant information to bereaved family members, and disclosure of investigation reports and details of employers involved in the industrial accidents. A spokesman of the Labour Department (LD) today (August 8) gave the following response:

     It was reported that the family members of a worker who died in a fatal industrial accident that occurred at the HZMB project in October 2014 had not yet received the death certificate. According to the Coroners Ordinance, the Coroner shall inform the Births and Deaths General Register Office to issue a death certificate after he makes a judgement on the cause of death. The LD had taken out prosecution against the parties responsible for the aforesaid fatal accident under the occupational safety and health (OSH) legislation in April 2015 and the relevant accident investigation report had been submitted to the Coroner for determination of the cause of death. The LD understands that the Coroner is awaiting the conclusion of the aforesaid trial. As the defendants were allowed by the court to adjourn the pre-trial review for case preparation and the court also ordered both the prosecution and the defence to submit more facts concerning the case, the trial was arranged to commence in July this year. The LD will continue to fully assist the court proceedings.

     The LD appreciates the bereaved families' wish to be kept informed of the progress of investigation, prosecution taken by the LD and other relevant information. Subject to the requirements of relevant legislation, the LD is pleased to take the initiative to provide them with the relevant information in accordance with their preference.

     As far as the disclosure of investigation reports is concerned, Section 29 of the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance (OSH Ordinance) prescribes the lawful authority under which the LD can disclose to another person information relating to working processes that was obtained through the exercise or performance of a function under the OSH Ordinance or the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance (FIU Ordinance). The prescribed conditions under which the LD is considered to have the lawful authority include situations where the disclosure is made in connection with the administration of the OSH Ordinance or the FIU Ordinance, or ordered by a court or made for the purpose of complying with a requirement of another ordinance. The LD has provided injured workers or their families with such information for civil proceedings in accordance with the above provisions. The LD is now seeking advice from the Department of Justice (DoJ) on how to disclose fatal accident investigation reports in relation to the HZMB project within the confines of the aforesaid legislation. In addition, the LD is also seeking advice from the DoJ on disclosing information on employers who have violated OSH legislation and those who have been convicted, and will decide on the way forward in accordance with the relevant legislation and codes.

Published on: 2017-08-08

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