Safety probe ordered after man dies when vehicle plunges to ground on building site

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 November, 2009, 12:00am

An investigation has been launched into whether proper safety measures were followed on a Kowloon Bay construction site where a man died yesterday when his vehicle plunged from the first floor to the ground.

Shortly before 10am, Yau Hung, 37, reversed a tractor-like vehicle, used to move construction waste, into a space near the edge of the first floor of a building under construction in Wang Chiu Road. An open cargo hold at the back of the vehicle was loaded with waste. Police said the vehicle had stopped and the waste was about to be unloaded at the time of the incident.

'The centre of gravity was probably at the back of the vehicle as construction waste was being unloaded, so it flipped over and plunged to the ground level,' a police officer said.

The vehicle landed on its side and some waste fell out of the cargo hold.

Yau was taken to United Christian Hospital, where doctors declared him dead at 10.24am.

The Labour Department sent officers to the site to investigate. 'We will issue a notice to suspend work at the site temporarily to stop work concerning unloading waste on the edge of a building being constructed until safety measures have been improved,' the department said.

Chow Luen-kiu, chairman of the Hong Kong Construction Industry Employees General Union, said the Labour Department should look into whether proper safety procedures were followed when construction waste was unloaded from the truck.

He said drivers of such a tractor were required to receive training. 'Initial investigation showed the victim had attended the training and was a qualified person.'

The chief executive of the Association for the Rights of Industrial Accident Victims, Chan Kam-hong, said Yau was the family breadwinner, with a wife and teenage daughter and son. His daughter is studying in the United States.

The use of the vehicle involved in the accident was regulated under the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Loadshifting Machinery) Regulation, which also covered excavators and loaders, the Labour Department said. The law required operators to obtain a special licence.

Construction Association chairman Conrad Wong Tin-cheung said different building sites employed different safety measures and the association would review the situation to see if they needed to be standardised.

'Rear mirrors or devices are installed for big vehicles so drivers can see the rear view of the vehicle. We will consider whether such devices should be installed for small vehicles,' he said.