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HyD's independent investigation task force completes investigation of fatal industrial accident related to Hong Kong Link Road project

    Regarding a fatal industrial accident on March 29, 2017 related to the "Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Hong Kong Link Road - Section between HKSAR Boundary and Scenic Hill" (Highways Department contract No. HY/2011/09), an independent investigation task force led by the Deputy Director of Highways was set up to investigate the cause of the accident with a view to preventing recurrence of similar accidents and to give advice on site safety improvement measures. The investigation included cross-checking and analysing of relevant construction record and information related to the accident, contractual requirements, information provided by the engineering staff responsible for the construction work, and more. The task force completed the investigation and submitted an investigation report to the Director of Highways on June 30.
      After the Director of Highways has looked at the report, the Highways Department (HyD) will, according to the investigation findings, duly reflect the performances of the contractor and consultant concerned in respect of site safety and compliance with other relevant contractual requirements in their quarterly performance reports, and require them to improve site safety measures and strengthen performance in safety supervision including replacement of the responsible personnel with unsatisfactory site safety performance. Under the established mechanism, the Government will also take appropriate regulating actions in consideration of the investigation findings and the seriousness of the incident. In the case of any serious offence, the regulating actions taken by the Government may include suspending the company concerned from tendering for public works.
      The HyD has already referred the investigation findings to relevant law enforcement departments for follow-up and will continue to co-operate with the relevant departments in the investigation. The details of the cause of the fatal accident and the relevant liability issues will be followed up by the relevant law enforcement departments and death inquest that might be initiated. They will handle the case seriously. As disclosing the content of the investigation report may affect the investigation work which is being carried out by the relevant enforcement departments and the possible prosecution procedures in future, the HyD must adopt a prudent attitude and shall not disclose the contents of the investigation report conducted by the independent investigation task force at this stage.
      The HyD attaches great importance to site safety. In response to the fatal industrial accident related to the Hong Kong Link Road project, the Director of Highways held a site safety meeting in April and has personally tasked the resident site staff and the contractor to take site safety as the primary consideration in carrying out the works, and to immediately conduct a comprehensive review on site safety and undertake improvement measures to enhance site safety. Such measures include revisiting and upgrading work processes and strengthening safety inspection of the relevant work processes and safety training to workers so as to enhance work site management and communication and to ensure construction safety, thus preventing recurrence of similar tragedies. Currently, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge-related Hong Kong projects have adopted the following improvement measures to enhance site safety:
 (1) After the accident, the consultants and contractors immediately re-examined the implementation of the safety management system, safety plan, working procedures, construction methods and related safety measures, with particular attention to the safety of workers engaged in working at height. The HyD has also required the contractors to immediately formulate and implement an action plan to prevent the recurrence of similar accidents;

 (2) The HyD has reminded resident site staff of the consultants to report to their supervisors regarding areas where safety needs to be improved at the work site;

 (3) When resident site staff of the consultants spot potential safety hazards to workers in the work processes, such processes undertaken by the contractors shall be suspended immediately. They will be allowed to resume progressively only after having been confirmed to be safe;

 (4) The contractors have strengthened safety training for workers, especially by providing simple-to-follow training on construction methods with multiple languages made available for easier understanding by workers;

 (5) Changing the mode of site inspection from pre-arranged visits by the directorate staff of the HyD and the senior management of the contractor to surprise inspections; and

 (6) The HyD has arranged a safety audit team to inspect the work site every three months.


Ends/Monday, July 3, 2017