Tragic Construction Site Accident Stirs Up Safety Concerns in Hong Kong
Workers Found Dead at Construction Site
In a tragic incident that has sent shockwaves through the city, two construction workers, aged 63 and 61, were found dead at a construction site on No.1 Austin Road West. The victims, Lau Ho-sheung and Kwok Fai-ki, are suspected to have been poisoned by hydrogen sulfide. The case is currently under investigation by the Yau Tsim Police District Serious Crimes Unit.
The workers had been missing for more than 14 hours while working in an underground pipe at the site. The pipe, measuring 200 meters in length and five meters in diameter, is linked to the air conditioning system of a local mall. The discovery of the bodies was only made after the family members of the victims raised the alarm, accusing the contractor of negligence.
Sorrow and Anguish for Bereaved Families
The news of the workers’ deaths was met with deep sorrow and anguish by their families. The widows were seen grieving and crying at the Kwai Chung Public Mortuary, while other relatives remained solemn and did not respond to reporters’ questions. The victims’ children, who had just started working, are now left to cope with the financial pressures of the family.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Expresses Condolences
Hong Kong Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, expressed her deep condolences to the families of the deceased workers before an executive meeting. She acknowledged the seriousness of the situation and assured that the Social Welfare Department has been instructed to provide support to the affected families. The police are investigating from a criminal liability perspective, while the Labour Department is conducting a comprehensive inspection of sealed construction sites across the city.
Emphasizing the Need for Risk Management and Safety Awareness
Carrie Lam underscored the importance of risk management, safety awareness, and preventive measures in the construction industry. She stressed that occupational safety is an ongoing task and that efforts towards its promotion will continue. Despite laws imposing up to two years’ imprisonment for violations, she urged everyone to comply with them.
Lam further emphasized the need for a culture of occupational safety and health, where both site supervisors and operators realize its importance. She mentioned the recent promotion of technology to aid in occupational safety and health, requiring strict adherence to safety measures. The government is committed to conducting inspections and following up on accidents to ascertain the truth, with the Labour Department already conducting prompt inspections of concealed work environments following the accident.
Call for Collective Participation and Adherence to Laws
In the wake of this tragic incident, Lam called for collective participation and adherence to laws to prevent such accidents in the future. She noted that despite the increase in penalties or providing proper guidelines, operators, participants, and businesses must strictly implement them, with the government making relentless inspections.
The incident has raised concerns about the effectiveness of safety measures at construction sites. It underscores the urgent need for a comprehensive review of safety protocols, strict adherence to them, and the implementation of stringent monitoring mechanisms to ensure the wellbeing of workers.
The police and the Labour Department are currently investigating the incident. The Labour Department has suspended all work in the pipe and launched an investigation to identify the cause of the accident, ascertain liability, and recommend improvement measures. If there has been any violation of work safety, action will be taken according to the law.
As the city mourns the loss of the two workers, it is essential that this tragic incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of occupational safety and the need for stringent measures to prevent such accidents in the future.
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