Comparative study of safety management in hong kong and zhejiang province

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Ma, Chunjie Department of Construction Economy and Management, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, P.R. China

Lin, Detian Department of Construction Economy and Management, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, P.R. China

Safety management, construction, site

During the last 10 years, with the accelerated pace in economic reformation, the building industry in China has developed very fast. The amount of investment, the scale of buildings developed and the building labours increase every year. Due to its characteristics, such as complexities, difficulty in management and the huge number of people involved in it, the building industry is more dangerous than other industries. In turn, it leads to the high incidence of accidents. Thus, it is necessary to implement safety management in the building industry.
Though the injury and death rate in the China building industry has gone down in recent years, it is still very high and unacceptable. Therefore, it is essential for the China construction industry to learn from other country/area’s experiences in safety management.
Hong Kong (HK) has pretty much the same culture background, living habits, traditions as mainland China. So the experiences from building industry of HONG KONG will definitely be useful to the development of building industry in the mainland.

Instruction of Safety Management System in Hong Kong and Zhejiang
Safety management system in Hong Kong
The HONG KONG government began to introduce safety management system via Airport Core Program in 1991. After development and improvement for 10 years, now HONG KONG has established an effective safety management system. The various systems and schemes are elaborated as follows:

Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Safety Management) Regulation

To ensure that the contractors have set up a safety management system, the HONG KONG government requires them to establish a management system. The key elements of the system are:

  • Safety policy

  • Safety organization

  • Safety and health training

  • Safety and health inspection

  • Personal protective equipment

  • Evaluation, selection and control of sub-contractors

  • Process control program

  • Safety committees

  • Safety promotion

  • Emergency preparedness

  • Job Accident/incident investigation hazard analysis

  • Health assurance program

Pay for Safety Scheme (PFSS)

To effectively carry out daily safety management missions, contractors must pay for the expenditure of preparing safety plans, holding safety meetings, and employing safety officer etc. The cost of safety management is pre-priced, which is fixed at 2% of the estimated contract sums.

Independent Safety Audit Scheme (ISAS)

According to the scheme, independent safety auditors carry out safety audits at quarterly intervals. The audit reports highlight the strength and weakness of the contractors’ safety management system. The score and comments are also included. If the contractor can achieve 70% of the scores, they can attain the pre-priced payment. If the score is less than 60%, they will be given an adverse report.

Safety Promotion and Safety Award Scheme

The purpose of safety promotion is to enhance the safety performance of contractors and the awareness of all building workers. The award scheme aims to encourage contractors to maintain a healthy and safe environment to workers.

Monitor System

Government will monitor and assess the performance of contractors by using both active system such as PFSS, ISAS etc, and reactive system, such as the monitoring of accident frequency rates, record of site safety convictions, etc.

Regulation Action against Contractors with Poor Site Safety Record

A “carrot and stick” approach is adopted to manage site safety. Contractors with good performance are rewarded while contractors with poor performance will be punished. The regulation actions include the issue of warning letters and voluntary suspension from tendering.

Safety management in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, PRC
A standard safety regulation, Civilized Construction Safety Standard Site Management Regulation, which require the contractor to set up a safe, healthy and neat construction site, is established in the ZheJiang(ZJ) province. The regulation consists of 4 parts:

  1. General rules

  1. Safety management

  • General rules of construction company

  • Professional training

  • Safety inspection

  • Hazard control program

  • Safety board

  • Arrangement on site

  • Roster management on special kind of work

  1. Detailed requirement on construction facilities

  • falsework

  • construction electricity

  • derrick

  • tower crane

  • middle and small types of construction facilities

  • safety net, safety belt, safety helmet

  • protection of holes

  1. Setting up a neat construction site

The regulation mentioned above is just a guideline. The company must comply with this regulation, and can formulate its own safety policy and safety plan according to its own conditions.

The officials from the government in ZHEJIANG inspect and assess the construction site safety performance by using a “score list system”, which includes 9 parts:

  1. safety management

  2. falsework

  3. safety helmet, belt, net and holes

  4. construction electricity

  5. derrick

  6. town crane

  7. middle and small types of construction facilities

  8. physical site conditions

  9. summary

Except for this “score list system”, the accident rate is another criterion for scoring. There are three kinds of results, i.e. excellent, pass, or failure. The safety supervision department, a department in the government, is responsible for this inspection.

Study of Safety Plans in Hong Kong and Zhejiang
Having discussed the government-level regulation, we now study the company-level regulation both in Zhejiang and Hong Kong.
Two safety plans, one in Hong Kong and the other in the city of Hang Zhou, which is the capital of Zhejiang province, and their safety management are studied and compared.
Plan A— From a large-scale Housing Authority project site in the north-western part of the New Territories in Hong Kong, with the plan prepared by a well known Hong Kong building contractor.
Plan B— From a sizable agriculture pesticide factory project in No.5th road of XiaSha in Hang Zhou, with the plan prepared by a reputable construction company in China.
(Scores range from 1 to 5)

Safety policy

Safety organization

Safety committee

Safety training

And promotion

Safety inspection

Plan A

Contained the company safety policy statement


Outlined the structure of the organization, described individual safety responsibilities, and presented an organizational chart


Described the members and functions of the safety committee


Set forth the schedule for safety training; specified individual activities to promote safety; described the safety newsletter, and the safety bulletin board


Described the procedures of the safety inspection


Plan B

Contained the company safety policy statement


Outlined the structure of the organization, described individual safety responsibilities, and presented an organizational chat

Described the members and functions of the safety committee; presented the standard form of meeting minutes


Set forth training objectives, course content; described the safety bulletin board and facilities


Indicated the formation, content, method and frequency of safety inspection

Risk assessment and hazard analysis



Hazard control program

Emergency procedure

Health assurance program

Plan A

Indicated the procedure of risk assessment and job hazard analysis


Described procedures for recording and investigating accidents and compiling statistics


Described precautionary safety measures for each major site operation

Presented organizational chart for emergencies; described accident reporting procedures and facilities; outlined procedures for typhoons, fires, and evacuation


Described procedures for monitoring and controlling noise, dust, and chemical substance


Plan B

Outlined the risk element of some kinds of works


Described procedures for reporting accidents and dangerous conditions; outlined procedures for investigations and compiling statistics

Described safety procedures for each site operation; indicated the relevant legal ordinances and regulations


Presented the emergency faulty; described the makeup of the emergency team and the duties of each member; outlined emergency and procedures


Outlined methods for the handling of hazardous materials and the use of safety equipment and controlling noise, dust, and chemical substance


Personal protective

equipment (PPE)

Evaluation selection,

and control of subcontractor

Safety audits



Plan A

Listed all the commonly used PPE along with related safety requirements


Described procedures for evaluating, selecting and controlling subcontractor; outlined safety penalties and the award scheme


Indicated that safety audits of both safety management and physical site conditions should be carried out at least every three months



Plan B

Listed all the commonly used PPE along with relevant statutory requirement and safety standards; indicated the requirements for PPE use





Besides the content discussed above, the plan B has its own special safety system. For example, safety license management system, safety technology management system, construction safety requirement, safety performance award and penalty regulations, etc.

Having discussed the safety regulation and system in HONG KONG and ZHEJIANG, we can see that both of them have thorough regulations, which detail all aspects of safety management. Frankly speaking, in the company-level, the safety manual of ZHEJIANG is more detailed than that of HONG KONG. But, in the government-level, it is not the case. There is an effect of the system to guarantee the regulations to be carried out in HONG KONG but not in ZHEJIANG. And this is the key point.
The contractors are always concerned with cost and profit. To carry out safety management, they think, with no doubt, will increase their cost, which will in turn, decrease their profit, and waste their time. Therefore, without efficacious supervision system, the contractors are not willing to execute the safety management. Even though some of them follow the safety rules, they just do so as a kind of formality, which will not be of any use at all and may lead to poor safety performance.
To tackle this problem, a supervision system must be established. The ZHEJIANG government can learn from HONG KONG experiences, and set up a sequence of schemes, similar to PFSS and ISAS, which is suitable for use in ZHEJIANG.

What is really needed is a list of actions and procedures to be followed by all parties in the same manner to secure safety on sites. We strongly recommend that the ZHEJIANG government to adopt the methods below:

  1. To ensure it is suitable for realistic situations, the government should update the safety regulations from time to time.

  1. The government should set up a new system to encourage contractors to execute the safety management.

    • The profit can be based on the safety performance. Safety performance and quantity of work are two foundations of getting pre-priced payment. Supervisors not only are in charge of the cost, process, work period and quality, but also take care of the safety performance on construction sites. So, a safety supervisor should be employed if necessary.

    • The policy must enforce the functions of the safety supervision department. The department must inspect the sites periodically to ensure the contractors have complied with the regulations. The performance of contractors will be a reference criterion in future tendering. A contractor with good performance in safety will be awarded financially and he will have more chance of wining the future bids.

  1. The government should provide professional training to enhance the workers’ awareness of safety and prepare plans for preventing accidents and disasters. The government should also conduct examination for the workers.

  1. The workers’ bonus should be linked to their safety performance. The longer they work safely, the more bonus they can earn. It will encourage the workers to work under the safety regulations.

  1. The government should offer professional safety certificates to competent safety personnel in different specialization areas.

  1. The fines from unsafe sites could be used to fund a safety center. The main activities of this center include:

  • Participate in technical investigation of accidents to identify causes and take steps to avoid them in the future;

  • Create an accident databank with reasons, results, and methods of accident prevention;

  • Explain safety principles and their importance in every workplace;

  • Participate in international safety conferences and organize safety courses and provide training sessions for workers, engineers and managers at all levels of responsibility;

  • Conduct regional and state surveys about safety matters in all economic sectors and propose recommendations to improve safe working conditions;

  • Facilitate sharing of information and coordination among insurance companies.

[1]* S.L. Tang, S.W. Poon, S.M. Ahmed, & Francis K.W. Wong, Modern Construction Project Management, Dragon Vision Publisher, 1998.
[2] Lam Hon, “Safety Management System in Public Works Contracts”, Proceedings of Safety management in the Construction Industry—Asia Experience, 2000.
[3] 马纯杰、魏成勇、郑叔民,《建筑工程项目管理》,浙江大学出版社,2000.
[4] 胡建文,《香港工程建设和建筑业管理》,海天出版社,1999.
[5] Syed M. Ahmed, Jack Chu Kwan, Fox Young Wei Ming & Derrick Chong Pui Ho, “Site Safety Management in Hong Kong”, Journal of Management in Engineering, 2000.

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