COMPARATIVE STUDY OF SAFETY MANAGEMENT IN HONG KONG AND
Ma, Chunjie Department of Construction Economy and Management, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou,
Lin, Detian Department of Construction Economy and Management, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou,
Safety management, construction, site
During the last 10 years, with the accelerated pace in economic reformation, the building industry in
China has developed very fast. The amount of investment, the scale of buildings developed and the
building labours increase every year. Due to its characteristics, such as complexities, difficulty in
management and the huge number of people involved in it, the building industry is more dangerous than
other industries. In turn, it leads to the high incidence of accidents. Thus, it is necessary to implement
safety management in the building industry.
Though the injury and death rate in the China building industry has gone down in recent years, it is still
very high and unacceptable. Therefore, it is essential for the China construction industry to learn from
other country/area’s experiences in safety management.
Hong Kong (HK) has pretty much the same culture background, living habits, traditions as mainland
China. So the experiences from building industry of HONG KONG will definitely be useful to the
development of building industry in the mainland.
Instruction of Safety Management System in Hong Kong and Zhejiang
Safety management system in Hong Kong
The HONG KONG government began to introduce safety management system via Airport Core Program
in 1991. After development and improvement for 10 years, now HONG KONG has established an
effective safety management system. The various systems and schemes are elaborated as follows:
Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Safety Management) Regulation
To ensure that the contractors have set up a safety management system, the HONG KONG government
requires them to establish a management system. The key elements of the system are:
Safety and health training
Safety and health inspection
Personal protective equipment
Evaluation, selection and control of sub-contractors
Process control program
Job Accident/incident investigation hazard analysis
Health assurance program
Pay for Safety Scheme (PFSS)
To effectively carry out daily safety management missions, contractors must pay for the expenditure of
preparing safety plans, holding safety meetings, and employing safety officer etc. The cost of safety
management is pre-priced, which is fixed at 2% of the estimated contract sums.
Independent Safety Audit Scheme (ISAS)
According to the scheme, independent safety auditors carry out safety audits at quarterly intervals. The
audit reports highlight the strength and weakness of the contractors’ safety management system. The
score and comments are also included. If the contractor can achieve 70% of the scores, they can attain the
pre-priced payment. If the score is less than 60%, they will be given an adverse report.
Safety Promotion and Safety Award Scheme
The purpose of safety promotion is to enhance the safety performance of contractors and the awareness of
all building workers. The award scheme aims to encourage contractors to maintain a healthy and safe
environment to workers.
Government will monitor and assess the performance of contractors by using both active system such as
PFSS, ISAS etc, and reactive system, such as the monitoring of accident frequency rates, record of site
safety convictions, etc.
Regulation Action against Contractors with Poor Site Safety Record
A “carrot and stick” approach is adopted to manage site safety. Contractors with good performance are
rewarded while contractors with poor performance will be punished. The regulation actions include the
issue of warning letters and voluntary suspension from tendering.
Safety management in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, PRC
A standard safety regulation, Civilized Construction Safety Standard Site Management Regulation, which
require the contractor to set up a safe, healthy and neat construction site, is established in the ZheJiang(ZJ)
province. The regulation consists of 4 parts:
1. General rules
2. Safety management
General rules of construction company
Hazard control program
Arrangement on site
Roster management on special kind of work
3. Detailed requirement on construction facilities
middle and small types of construction facilities
safety net, safety belt, safety helmet
protection of holes
4. Setting up a neat construction site
The regulation mentioned above is just a guideline. The company must comply with this regulation, and
can formulate its own safety policy and safety plan according to its own conditions.
The officials from the government in ZHEJIANG inspect and assess the construction site safety
performance by using a “score list system”, which includes 9 parts:
1. safety management
3. safety helmet, belt, net and holes
4. construction electricity
6. town crane
7. middle and small types of construction facilities
8. physical site conditions
Except for this “score list system”, the accident rate is another criterion for scoring. There are three kinds
of results, i.e. excellent, pass, or failure. The safety supervision department, a department in the
government, is responsible for this inspection.
Study of Safety Plans in Hong Kong and Zhejiang
Having discussed the government-level regulation, we now study the company-level regulation both in
Zhejiang and Hong Kong.
Two safety plans, one in Hong Kong and the other in the city of Hang Zhou, which is the capital of
Zhejiang province, and their safety management are studied and compared.
Plan A— From a large-scale Housing Authority project site in the north-western part of the New
Territories in Hong Kong, with the plan prepared by a well known Hong Kong building contractor.
Plan B— From a sizable agriculture pesticide factory project in No.5 th road of XiaSha in Hang Zhou, with
the plan prepared by a reputable construction company in China.
(Scores range from 1 to 5)
Safety policy Safety organization Safety committee Safety training Safety inspection
Plan A Contained the Outlined the structure Described the Set forth the Described the
company safety of the organization, members and schedule for safety procedures of the
policy statement described individual functions of the training; specified safety inspection
safety safety committee individual
responsibilities, and activities to
presented an promote safety;
organizational chart described the
(5) safety newsletter, (3)
(3) and the safety
(5) bulletin board
Plan B Contained the Outlined the structure Described the Set forth training Indicated the
company safety of the organization, members and objectives, course formation,
policy statement described individual functions of the content; described content, method
safety safety committee; the safety bulletin and frequency of
responsibilities, and presented the board and facilities safety inspection
presented an standard form of
(5) organizational chat meeting minutes (5)
Risk Accident Hazard control Emergency Health assurance
assessment and investigation program procedure program
Plan A Indicated the Described procedures Described Presented Described
procedure of for recording and precautionary organizational procedures for
risk assessment investigating safety measures for chart for monitoring and
and job hazard accidents and each major site emergencies; controlling noise,
analysis compiling statistics operation described accident dust, and chemical
(5) (3) procedures for
typhoons, fires, (3)
(3) and evacuation
Plan B Outlined the risk Described procedures Described safety Presented the Outlined methods
element of some for reporting procedures for emergency faulty; for the handling of
kinds of works accidents and each site operation; described the hazardous
dangerous indicated the makeup of the materials and the
conditions; outlined relevant legal emergency team use of safety
procedures for ordinances and and the duties of equipment and
investigations and regulations each member; controlling noise,
compiling statistics outlined dust, and chemical
emergency and substance
(4) (4) procedures (5)
Personal Evaluation selection, Safety audits Total
protective and control of scores
Plan A Listed all the Described procedures for Indicated that safety audits of
commonly used evaluating, selecting and both safety management and
PPE along with controlling subcontractor; physical site conditions
related safety outlined safety penalties should be carried out at least
requirements and the award scheme every three months
(3) (3) (3) (48)
Plan B Listed all the
PPE along with
(5) (0) (0) (51)
Besides the content discussed above, the plan B has its own special safety system. For example, safety
license management system, safety technology management system, construction safety requirement,
safety performance award and penalty regulations, etc.
Having discussed the safety regulation and system in HONG KONG and ZHEJIANG, we can see that
both of them have thorough regulations, which detail all aspects of safety management. Frankly speaking,
in the company-level, the safety manual of ZHEJIANG is more detailed than that of HONG KONG. But,
in the government-level, it is not the case. There is an effect of the system to guarantee the regulations to
be carried out in HONG KONG but not in ZHEJIANG. And this is the key point.
The contractors are always concerned with cost and profit. To carry out safety management, they think,
with no doubt, will increase their cost, which will in turn, decrease their profit, and waste their time.
Therefore, without efficacious supervision system, the contractors are not willing to execute the safety
management. Even though some of them follow the safety rules, they just do so as a kind of formality,
which will not be of any use at all and may lead to poor safety performance.
To tackle this problem, a supervision system must be established. The ZHEJIANG government can learn
from HONG KONG experiences, and set up a sequence of schemes, similar to PFSS and ISAS, which is
suitable for use in ZHEJIANG.
What is really needed is a list of actions and procedures to be followed by all parties in the same manner
to secure safety on sites. We strongly recommend that the ZHEJIANG government to adopt the methods
1. To ensure it is suitable for realistic situations, the government should update the safety regulations
from time to time.
2. The government should set up a new system to encourage contractors to execute the safety
The profit can be based on the safety performance. Safety performance and quantity of work are
two foundations of getting pre-priced payment. Supervisors not only are in charge of the cost,
process, work period and quality, but also take care of the safety performance on construction
sites. So, a safety supervisor should be employed if necessary.
The policy must enforce the functions of the safety supervision department. The department
must inspect the sites periodically to ensure the contractors have complied with the regulations.
The performance of contractors will be a reference criterion in future tendering. A contractor
with good performance in safety will be awarded financially and he will have more chance of
wining the future bids.
3. The government should provide professional training to enhance the workers’ awareness of safety
and prepare plans for preventing accidents and disasters. The government should also conduct
examination for the workers.
4. The workers’ bonus should be linked to their safety performance. The longer they work safely, the
more bonus they can earn. It will encourage the workers to work under the safety regulations.
5. The government should offer professional safety certificates to competent safety personnel in
different specialization areas.
6. The fines from unsafe sites could be used to fund a safety center. The main activities of this center
Participate in technical investigation of accidents to identify causes and take steps to
avoid them in the future;
Create an accident databank with reasons, results, and methods of accident prevention;
Explain safety principles and their importance in every workplace;
Participate in international safety conferences and organize safety courses and provide training
sessions for workers, engineers and managers at all levels of responsibility;
Conduct regional and state surveys about safety matters in all economic sectors and propose
recommendations to improve safe working conditions;
Facilitate sharing of information and coordination among insurance companies.
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