Call for workers to be registered

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 December, 2008, 12:00am

A lawmaker and unionists have called for a registration scheme for lift workers in the light of the fact that about 1,000 of the city's 4,000 lift workers are not qualified.

According to the Lifts and Escalators Ordinance, a competent lift worker is one who is a holder of a certificate in mechanical or electrical engineering, or someone who has completed a course relating to lifts at any technical institute or vocational training centre; or someone who has been employed as a registered lift contractor for not less than four years.

Lawmaker Andrew Cheng Kar-foo said there were about 4,000 competent lift workers in the city, but about 1,000 working for registered lift contractors had no related certificate or had not completed any related course.

'Some workers cannot even read a lift manual properly,' Mr Cheng said.

The chairman of the Hong Kong General Union of Lift and Escalator Employees, Tse King-wa, said his union had urged the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) to set up a system to register lift workers for more than 10 years, but the deparment had ignored the calls.

'The current mechanism for competent lift workers is defective,' Mr Tse said. 'The department does not lift workers' standards enough.'

There was wide variation in the skill levels of non-certified lift workers, he said. Some were very experienced and had worked for contractor companies for more than 20 years, but they had come under pressure recently because of outsourcing of lift maintenance services.

The union suggested a transition period for experienced lift workers who might have difficulty passing a written examination to obtain a certificate. The EMSD said it would set up an inspection system to enhance monitoring of registered lift contractors and enhance the content of its code of practice in conjunction with the trade.