More than 60 prosecutions have been brought by Hong Kong’s Labour Department against the contractor, subcontractors and individuals involved in a fatal crane collapse that occurred at a building site in Sau Mau Ping last September. Three were killed and six were injured in the incident.
The department issued a press release on Monday night saying it had completed its investigation into the deadly industrial accident.
Sixty-seven prosecutions were brought against the “relevant duty holders” under the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance and the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance, the department said. The highest penalty under the two ordinances is a fine of HK$500,000 and six months in prison.
When asked by HKFP for specific charges faced by each of the accused, the Labour Department said it would not disclose more details as further investigations were still ongoing.
According to its brief report, three tower cranes were erected and in operation at the Sau Mau Ping construction site at the time of the incident. One of the cranes collapsed suddenly and fell onto several temporary container offices, although “no lifting operations were being undertaken during the time of the accident.”
Three workers were trapped beneath the crane. Two were certified dead on the scene, while the third was sent to hospital in an unconscious state, where they were later certified dead. Six other workers, including the crane operator, were injured.
After its half-year probe, the Labour Department found that a welded joint on the base of the tower crane in question had been torn, causing the crane to fall.
“The Labour Department will not tolerate illegal acts, and will strictly enforce the law and do its utmost to protect the occupational safety and health of employees,” the statement read.
Building work to resume with same contractor
The accident occurred at a construction site on Anderson Road in Sau Mau Ping shortly before 11 a.m. on September 7 last year. Five subsidised residential buildings of the Hong Kong Housing Society were being built at the site.
The Hong Kong Housing Society, an unofficial public housing provider, told HKFP that new tower cranes were expected to be erected from mid-March, as the three cranes previously in use at the site were dismantled after the incident. The society said it had no plans to change the contractor of the project, adding that it had taken several measures with the contractor to secure the safety operation of tower cranes in the future.
“HKHS will continue to monitor the progress of the project and make arrangements as appropriate,” the housing provider replied.
The contractor is Aggressive Construction Company Limited, which is a subsidiary of Great Harvest Group, as previously revealed by the labour authorities. Because of this fatal accident, the contractor was suspended by the government from submitting bids for all kinds of construction works until the end of this year.
According to the group’s website, Aggressive Construction Company Limited was awarded a contract for a subsidised flats project at the Anderson Road Quarry Site R2-2. Government documents showed that around 1,400 flats will be built, which could accommodate around 4,000 people. The construction was schedule to be completed by 2024, according to Great Harvest Group.
In an email sent to all staff soon after the accident, Great Harvest Group offered its condolences to those who were killed, local media reported at the time.
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