Hong Kong to reform workplace health and safety regime

2022-06-14

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) administration has published a bill to amend the existing occupational health and safety regime.

The bill was published with a view to increasing the penalties for occupational safety and health offences and increasing the protections available to workers.

Known as the Occupational Safety and Occupational Health Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2022 (the bill), it seeks to amend the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance (Cap. 59) and the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance (Cap. 509), and their subsidiary legislation.

The bill follows the release of a consultation paper by the Labour Department in 2020.

The proposed reforms now include increasing the penalties at premises and industrial undertakings; extending the time limits for prosecution, making offences triable by indictment; and, notably, requiring the court to take into account the turnover of the responsible entities when determining the amount of a fine.

The main proposals in the bill include:

  • Making offences under general duty provisions for employers, proprietors and occupiers triable as indictable offences, meaning serious offences can be tried at higher levels of courts such as District Court or High Court as opposed to the Magistrates’ Courts under the current regime.
  • Courts to consider turnover of convicted entities when determining levels of fines.

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PinsentMasons, 14-06-22
; https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/analysis/hong-kong-to-reform-workplace-health-and-safety-regime