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Renovation Safety

http://www.labour.gov.hk/eng/public/os/C/GN_renovation.pdf

Renovation encompasses a wide range of job types and covers projects of different sizes. It includes decoration, redecoration, modification, upgrading, improvement work, maintenance of new flats or existing flats, and also internal and external repair work for a whole building or even an entire housing estate, etc. Injuries suffered by renovation workers usually relate to working at height, working with tools, electricity, inflammable substances or manual handling operations.

Renovation safety is mainly governed by the Construction Sites (Safety) Regulations of the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance; other related regulations include the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Safety Management) Regulation, the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Cartridge-Operated Fixing Tools) Regulations, the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Woodworking Machinery) Regulations, the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Electricity) Regulations, the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Dangerous Substances) Regulations, etc.

In fact, to reduce work injuries, people in the trade not only should observe the above regulations, but also implement safety management system. Safety management is very important in view of the fact that many types of job are usually carried out at the same time in the sam workplace for a renovation project. If hazards are not identified timely or if there are co-ordination or communication problem, work injuries may arise. Besides, renovation projects in general are relatively short-term. As many tools and equipment are hired for temporary use only, workers may not be fully aware of their safety requirements. To tackle these problems at root, a safety management system, including safety guidance on site, supervision of the implementation of safety measures by designated personnel, etc. should be put i place.

Building contractors have generally adopted safety management for their projects. In fact, safety management is not just for big companies. Sub-contractors and renovation firms should also implement an effective safety management system as small firms are more vulnerable risk and can be ruined financially by a single serious work injury case. The main concept of safety management is to assess the risks involved before commencement of work, draw up plans to manage such risks, designate suitable persons to ensure the implementation of the plans, review the effectiveness of safety measures and make improvement on a regular basis. Small and medium-sized renovation firms can follow these simple steps to ensure work safety.

Under the law, renovation contractors are responsible for ensuring the safety and health of their employees at work, regardless of the size of the renovation projects and the number of workers employed. For workers, they should co-operate with the employers to safeguard their own safety and the safety of others. The practical examples in this guidance notes serve to help renovation contractors and workers learn more about safety matters that require their constant attention so as to prevent accidents.

Renovation work is a kind of construction work. According to Section 6BA of the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance, the contractors responsible for the renovation work shall only employ persons who have successfully completed a recognized safety training course and hold a valid certificate (generally know as "Green Card"). Workers carrying out renovation work are required to undergo relevant safety training and obtain the relevant certificates. They shall carry the certificates with them while at work and produce the certificates upon demand by the contractor or an occupational safety officer of the Labour Department.



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