Worker dies after being electrocuted at Legco site

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 October, 2011, 12:00am


A worker electrocuted while putting the finishing touches to the new Legislative Council building earlier this week died in Ruttonjee Hospital yesterday.

Lai Yiu-hon, who turned 29 on Wednesday, is the first worker to have died at the site of the new government headquarters in Admiralty since construction began in 2008.

The accident happened at about 2.15pm on Tuesday when Lai was repairing an emergency exit light in a lower floor ceiling of the complex in Harbour Road. Colleagues heard him shout before finding him unconscious. He was taken to Ruttonjee Hospital in critical condition and died early yesterday morning.

Police have classified the case as an industrial accident.

At midday yesterday, dozens of his colleagues attended a religious rite at the site of the accident.

On Tuesday, Legco secretary general Pauline Ng Man-wah denied that the accident was a result of workers coming under pressure to complete construction work on the new government headquarters.

Yesterday, the Labour Department said an investigation was still in progress. A spokeswoman said the department would offer to help Lai's family seek compensation.

The contractor - a Gammon-Hip Hing joint venture - said a HK$180,000 ex gratia payment would be given to Lai's family and it would make every effort to help.

Labour Department figures show that 17 people were killed in industrial accidents in the first seven months of this year, compared to 18 for the whole of last year and 21 in 2009.

Chan Kam-hong, chief executive of the Association for the Rights of Industrial Accident Victims, called for tougher penalties against employers who fail to provide safe workplaces.

He said the Labour Department should step up on-site inspections to ensure that all safety measures were in place.

Chow Luen-kiu, chairman of the Construction Industry Employees General Union, said it was the third such electricity-related industrial accident this year. He urged workers to follow all safety procedures.

In August, a welder died after being electrocuted while working on an outdoor platform setting up a metre-long signboard for the Emporio Armani store in Tsim Sha Tsui.