A Brief Guide to the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance by guy21

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									HKIVE(TY)                                                                       Dept. of ICT



A Brief Guide to the Occupational Safety and Health
Ordinance
This document outlines some of the major provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health
Ordinance in order to let you have a preliminary understanding of the Ordinance. If you
wish to know more about the Ordinance, you can either refer to the original text or contact
the Occupational Safety and Health Branch of the Labour Department. Enquiry numbers of
the Occupational Safety and Health Branch are at the back of this pamphlet.


Purposes of the Ordinance
      To ensure the safety and health of employees when they are at work;
      To prescribe measures that will make the workplaces of employees safer and healthier
       for them;
      To improve the safety and health standards applicable to certain hazardous processes,
       plant and substances used or kept in workplaces; and
      To improve the safety and health aspects of working environments of employees.

The Ordinance is applicable, with only a few exceptions, to all employers and occupiers of
premises where workplaces are located. It also binds the government. Domestic premises
where the only employees are domestic servants, and places where only self-employed
persons work are not workplaces under the Ordinance.
An employee is at work only during the time when he is actually at a workplace. An
employee is not regarded at work when he is being conveyed as a passenger in a car, ferry or
other vehicle in circumstances no different from that of an ordinary passenger.


General Duties of Employers
Every employer must, so far as reasonably practicable, ensure the safety and health at work
of all his employees. His duties include:
     provide and maintain plant and system of work that are safe and without risks to
         health;
     make arrangements for ensuring safety and absence of risks to health in connection
         with the use, handling, storage or transport of plant or substances;
     provide information, instruction, training and supervision as may be necessary to
         ensure the safety and health at work;
     maintain workplace including the means of access to and egress from the workplace
         in a condition that is safe and without risks to health; and
     provide and maintain workplace and working environment that are safe and without
         risks to health.

Duties of Occupier of Premises
Occupier of premises means a person who has any degree of control over the premises where
a workplace is located. If an employee's workplace is located on premises that are not under
the control of his employer, occupier of the premises has the duties to ensure that the
premises, the means of access to and egress from the premises and any plant or substances
kept at the premises are, so far as reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health.



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HKIVE(TY)                                                                         Dept. of ICT

For example, the consignment counters selling proprietary products in an emporium, where
the sales persons are not employees of the emporium, the persons' safety and health at work
shall be the responsibility of their employer while operator of the emporium shall have the
duties of occupier of the premises. The operator shall have the duties to make overall
arrangements for safety and health at the premises like fire prevention, means of escape,
ventilation, first aid, sanitary facilities etc.

Duties of Employees
An employee must so far as reasonably practicable, take care for the safety and health of
himself and of other persons who are at the workplace. He must also co-operate with his
employer or other person so far as may be necessary to enable safety and health requirements
are complied with.

"Reasonably Practicable"
"So far as reasonably practicable" must assess, on the one hand, the risks of a particular work
activity or environment and on the other hand, the physical difficulties, time, expenses and
even "trouble" which would be involved in taking steps to avoid the risks.

Improvement Notice and Suspension Notice

The Commissioner for Labour may serve on employer or occupier
   1. Improvement Notice requiring the rectification of contravention against safety
      legislation within specified period ; and
   2. Suspension Notice requiring suspension of an activity or use of premises or of any
      plant or substance where there is imminent risk of death or serious bodily injury.

Employer or occupier served with a Suspension Notice has the right of applying to the
Commissioner for a review He may also appeal to the Administrative Appeals Board if he is
affected by the decision of the Commissioner. However, during the review or appeal, the
Suspension Notice remains in force.

Reporting Workplace Accidents and Other Matters
Workplace Accidents
Responsible person of a workplace is required to notify workplace accidents.

For accident that causes the death of, or serious bodily injury to an employee, he is required
to:
     notify an occupational safety officer of the Labour Department within 24 hours after
        the accident and follow it with a written report within 7 days after the date of the
        accident if no written notification has ever been given.
For accident that results in the employee being incapacitated from working for at least 3 days,
he is required to:
     report the accident in writing to an occupational safety officer of the Labour
        Department within 7 days after the date of the accident.
Serious bodily injury includes any bodily injury that results in the victim's admission at a
hospital or clinic for treatment or observation.




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HKIVE(TY)                                                                          Dept. of ICT

Written report of accident is not required if notice of the accident has been given within the
specified period in accordance with Section 15 of the Employees' Compensation Ordinance
(Cap 282).

Dangerous Occurrences
The occupier of premises where a workplace is located is required to report Dangerous
Occurrence occurred at the workplace to an occupational safety officer of the Labour
Department. The report must be in writing and lodged within 24 hours after the Dangerous
Occurrence.


Notifiable Occupational Diseases
A medical practitioner who finds or suspects that an employee is or was suffering from a
notifiable occupational disease and believes that the disease was or may have been
attributable to the occupation of the employee must notify his finding or suspicion to the
Commissioner as soon as practicable.


Occupational Safety Officers
Each Occupational Safety Officer of the Labour Department is issued with a certificate of
authority by the Commissioner for Labour. He is empowered to enter and inspect premises
being used as a workplace without warrant and to --

      seize any article he believes to be evidence of contravention of the Ordinance;
      conduct tests and examinations and take photographs of any plant or substance found
       on the premises;
      take samples of substance for analysis;
      require occupier of the premises or employee to provide such assistance or facilities
       as may be necessary for him to perform his duties;
      require person found on the premises to produce for inspection his identity card;
      require the production for inspection records relating the safety and health of
       employees;
      request a person to provide relevant information;
      require the exhibition of specified notice in a workplace;
      make copies of all or any part of records or statement.

A person commits an offence for refusing to give information, or giving false or misleading
information to an occupational safety officer. It is also an offence to obstruct or delay an
occupational safety officer who is performing his functions under the Ordinance.


Miscellaneous

It is an offence under the Ordinance for:

   1. a person to interfere with, or misuse, an article provided for the safety or health of
      employees.
   2. an employer to impose a charge on his employees for anything done or provided
      under or for the purpose of the Ordinance.


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HKIVE(TY)                                                                          Dept. of ICT

   3. a person to prevent, obstruct or delay the giving or receiving of aid in respect of an
      illness or injury of an employee at a workplace.

Penalty
An employer or occupier who commits an offence under the Ordinance is liable on
conviction to a maximum fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for 12 months.

An employee or other person who commits an offence under the Ordinance is liable on
conviction to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for 6 months.


Workplace Codes of Practice
The Commissioner may issue codes of practice for the purpose of providing practical
guidance to employers and employees, and to occupiers of workplaces. A code of practice
may consist of a code, standard, rule, specification or provision relating to occupational
safety and health approved by the Commissioner.

The Commissioner will publish in the Gazette notice of the issue, amendment or revocation
of workplace codes of practice.

A person does not incur a civil or criminal liability for failing to observe any provision given
in a workplace code of practice. However, a code is admissible as evidence in legal
proceedings in the determination of whether or not a person has breached any of the
provisions of the Ordinance to which the code relates.


Enquiry Service
Telephone: 2559 2297
Fax: 2915 1410
E-mail: laboureq@labour.gcn.gov.hk
Report of accidents and dangerous occurrences 2815 0678




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HKIVE(TY)                                                                        Dept. of ICT



A Brief Guide to the Occupational Safety and Health
Regulation
This document summarises briefly the major provisions of the Occupational Safety and
Health Regulation in order to let you have a preliminary understanding of the Regulation. If
you wish to know more about the Regulation, you can either refer to the original text or
contact the Occupational Safety and Health Branch of the Labour Department. Telephone
number of the Occupational Safety and Health Branch is at the back of this pamphlet.

The Occupational Safety and Health Regulation (the Regulation) is a subsidiary regulation of
the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance. It was approved by the Legislative Council
on 17 June 1997. The Regulation comes into effect by stages: the provisions concerning
accident prevention, fire precautions, working environments, hygiene and first aid in
workplaces came into effect on 1.1.98 whilst the provisions on manual handling operations
became effective on 1 July 98.

The Regulation provides basic protection on occupational safety and health to all employees
at work. It aims to incite all sectors to foster a safe and healthy working environment.


Duties of person responsible for a workplace
Accident Prevention
      ensure plants installed in a workplace are safe and without risk to employees and are
       properly maintained.
      ensure dangerous parts of plants are effectively guarded.
      ensure persons under the age of 18 are not allowed to clean plant when a dangerous
       part of the plant is in motion.
      ensure dangerous places where there is danger of fall are securely fenced.


Fire Precautions
      ensure all means of escape are maintained in a safe condition and kept free from
       obstruction.
      ensure exit doors are not locked or fastened in such a manner that they cannot be
       easily opened from inside the workplace.
      ensure illuminated "EXIT" sign is installed at each exit.
      ensure additional fire safety measures required by the Commissioner for Labour are
       provided within specified period.


Workplace Environments
      ensure workplace and all plants installed therein are kept clean.
      ensure workplace is adequately ventilated with fresh air.
      ensure workplace is sufficiently lit.
      ensure an effective means for draining floors of workplace is installed and
       maintained.



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HKIVE(TY)                                                                         Dept. of ICT


Hygiene at Workplaces
      ensure sufficient and suitable latrine and washing conveniences affording proper
       separate accommodation for persons of each sex are provided.
      ensure sufficient potable water is provided for consumption by employees.


First Aid at Workplaces
      ensure a separate first aid facility containing the items specified under the Regulation
       is provided and maintained for each 100 employees, or part of that number.
      ensure a team of at least 2 employees is designated to be responsible for each first aid
       facility.
      ensure for each 150 employees employed at a workplace, at least one of the
       employees is trained in first aid.


Manual Handling Operations

   Risk assessment
    ensure a preliminary assessment of the risks to the safety and health of employees is
      made before manual handling operations are undertaken.
    ensure a further risk assessment on manual handling operations which may create
      safety and health risks is made before these operations are undertaken.
    where 10 or more employees are normally employed at any one time to undertake
      manual handling operations which may create safety and health risks, ensure
      particulars of these employees and all significant findings of the risk assessments are
      recorded.

   Preventive and protective measures
    avoid manual handling operations which may create safety and health risks to
      employees.
    take appropriate steps to reduce risks of manual handling operations to the lowest
      level reasonably practicable, e.g. provide information on the weight of each load, use
      mechanical aids and protective equipment, assign a team of employees to lift a load.
    where 10 or more employees are normally employed at any one time to undertake
      manual handling operations which may create safety and health risks, appoint
      sufficient number of competent persons to assist in carrying out the preventive and
      protective measures.
    assess the respective capabilities of employees in performing manual handling
      operations which may create safety and health risks. Do not require employees who
      are incapable to perform the operations to do so.
    inform and train employees who are required to undertake manual handling
      operations in order to avoid or minimize the risks to their safety and health.


Duties of employees
      do not damage or obstruct means of escape from a workplace.
      do not damage or interfere with fire safety measures.



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HKIVE(TY)                                                                        Dept. of ICT


       use the mechanical aid and protective equipment provided by the employer for use in
        manual handling operations and conform to the system of work and work practices
        established by the employer for these operations.
       take reasonable care for the safety and health of other persons in the workplace when
        undertaking manual handling operations.


Penalty
The person responsible for a workplace who fails to comply with the Regulation commits an
offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of $200,000 and 12 months'
imprisonment.

An employee who fails to comply with the Regulation commits an offence and is liable on
conviction to a maximum fine of $50,000 and 6 months' imprisonment.


Other useful references
The following publications on occupational safety and health published by the Labour
Department are available free of charge:

   1.   A Brief Guide to Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance
   2.   Guidance Notes on Fire Safety at Workplaces
   3.   Five Steps to Risk Assessment
   4.   Guidelines for Good Occupational Hygiene Practice in a Workplace
   5.   Occupational Health in Office Environment
   6.   A Brief Guide to First Aid
   7.   Hints on First Aid




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