EFFORTS to improve industrial safety are a shambles because the Government has done nothing to promote public response to a key consultation paper, labour groups claim. The groups said they had been forced to organise their own meetings with workers because of a lack of information from the Government and a shortage of consultation documents. They had also been left in the dark about a key conference being organised by the Labour Department and the Occupational Safety and Health Council to encourage public discussion. The consultation paper was published three weeks ago and the public has until September 30 to comment on 45 recommendations put by the Education and Manpower Branch. The recommendations aim to make all Hong Kong companies follow a strict self-regulatory code within two years which, the paper states, is needed to improve the unacceptable industrial accident rate in the territory. The paper was released three weeks ago by the Education and Manpower Secretary, Michael Leung Man-kin. But the Association for the Rights of Industrial Accident Victims said the Government had failed to publicise the report. 'The Government has done nothing. There has not been enough publicity to the public about the consultation paper,' said the group's chief executive, Chan Kam-hong. The group was taking the issue seriously because it was the first comprehensive review of industrial safety since occupational health and safety increased in importance five or six years ago. The association was organising a package of events to promote the document among workers, he said. 'We are organising some discussions. It is important because we feel it is a serious matter. If a worker wants to see the paper, it is difficult because not everyone belongs to a union.' Members had found it difficult to obtain copies of the report. 'Even trade unions did not receive copies. All unions are affected - not those just concerned with the construction industry, which is obviously important,' said the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chief executive, Lee Cheuk-yan. Neither Mr Chan nor Mr Lee were informed about the joint conference. 'I didn't even know about it,' Mr Lee said. The council said the seminar, planned for September 5 at the Holiday Inn Golden Mile, was aimed at safety professionals rather than workers. But Mr Lee said it should be open to everyone. 'It is an important conference. I don't think the public should be excluded,' he said. The Education and Manpower Branch Principal Assistant Secretary, Herman Cho Chun-wah, said publication of the consultation document was badly timed because it clashed with the Government's promotion of legislative elections. 'There is not yet as much attention [from GIS] as we would like,' Mr Cho said. A public information campaign had just started with advertisements on radio and television. 'From August 18 there will be newspaper advertisements until the end of the consultation period at the end of September. From September, there will be display boards near the escalators at MTR stations,' he said. 'There will also be posters at Citybus shelters, Government Information Services and Labour Department sub-offices.' Earlier production problems at the Government Printer had also been resolved and thousands of copies of the report had been sent to professional bodies, trade unions and training authorities, Mr Cho said.