More than 500 workers have died building modern Hong Kong, but no one goes to jail – South China Morning Post
Solely one individual has ever been given a jail sentence – and that was suspended – since incarceration was included within the industrial security legislation in 1989, though a whole bunch of workers have been killed whereas remodeling Hong Kong right into a modern metropolis.
The affirmation by the Labour Division prompted calls from labour activists for Hong Kong to be taught from Britain and make the HK$500,000 most effective within the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance limitless.
Such a change, they mentioned, would power development corporations and contractors to guarantee their workers carried out their duties in a protected setting.
“[It is] very onerous to pin prison duty on any one particular person, although it may be achieved,” College of Hong Kong labour legislation professional Professor Rick Glofcheski mentioned.
The tutorial, who's writer of the e-book Employment Legislation and Observe in Hong Kong, mentioned extra inspectors ought to be despatched to development websites. He additionally mentioned tasks and even companies which flouted security rules ought to be shut down.
Official figures examined by the Post showed that about 500 individuals have been killed in industrial accidents since 1999, in accordance to the newest information out there.
Taking one instance, 10 workers have misplaced their lives and 600 others have been injured since work began on the bridge linking Hong Kong with Zhuhai and Macau in 2010.
Jail provisions had been added to the ordinance in 1989 to strengthen deterrence. The utmost time period is 12 months. The legislation was first enacted in 1955.
The division confirmed that it was solely in Could this yr that a person was given a jail sentence.
That individual was sentenced to one month’s imprisonment suspended for 2 years. A suspended sentence implies that a convicted individual shouldn't be locked up until she or he commits the crime once more in the course of the suspension interval.
The case associated to a case in October 2014, when a suspended working platform at a public housing property instantly tilted. Two workers had been injured. One suffered a leg fracture whereas the opposite dislocated a finger.
The convicted individual was the proprietor of the working platform.
A Labour Division spokesman mentioned it could start a right away investigation when it realized of a deadly or severe work accident. “We'll full the investigation as quickly as potential to determine the causes of the accident, verify the legal responsibility of the obligation holders [including individuals] and advocate enchancment measures,” he mentioned.
Chow Luen-kiu, chairman of the Hong Kong Development Trade Workers Common Union, mentioned that the utmost effective beneath the ordinance was so low that it failed to power development corporations and contractors to spend cash to guarantee their workers had been protected.
“The effective is simply nothing within the eyes of these corporations. They don't seem to be afraid,” he mentioned.
He acknowledged it was troublesome for prosecutors to pin down on a single particular person who ought to be answerable for lack of life in an industrial incident due to the usually advanced company buildings concerned. But he mentioned firm homeowners knowingly permitting their employees to work in an unsafe setting ought to be despatched to jail, even when they weren't the workers’ quick supervisors.
Chan Kam-hong, chief government of the Affiliation for the Rights of Industrial Accident Victims, additionally mentioned the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance was not working. Each he and Chow recommended that Hong Kong ought to be taught from Britain in setting out a limiteless effective.
The division mentioned different labour legal guidelines included jail phrases, together with the Occupational Security and Well being Ordinance and the Boilers and Stress Vessels Ordinance. Three individuals have been given suspended jail phrases beneath these legal guidelines.
In April, Commissioner for Labour Carlson Chan Ka-shun mentioned his division would focus on with justice officers the potential of growing punishment for contractors flouting development security guidelines.