Red tape is said to be threatening training courses for hundreds of construction workers. The claim came after a leading safety group heard it would get only a fraction of the cash it needed. The Occupational Safety and Health Council is set to receive just $8.5 million of the $48 million it applied for this year to take over industrial safety training from the Labour Department. As a result, training programmes, including vital general safety awareness courses, could be slashed or curtailed, said the council's executive director Yip Yuk-lun. This month, six workers died at an airport railway site in Kwai Chung when a metal platform plunged 20 metres from the side of a viaduct pier. Three were former fishermen who had only started work days before the tragedy. Last Thursday, two mainland workers died after inhaling deadly fumes inside a floating dock at a Yau Tong shipyard. The council made a submission for the full $48 million to the Secretary for Education and Manpower, but was told there was no such provision because the request was made too late. But Mr Yip said it could not submit its proposals any earlier because it was only given the training role this year after the Government's industrial safety review was completed last autumn. The council was also told its proposal failed to meet government criteria because it did not include a three-year forecast. Instead, the Finance Branch agreed to make two payments adding up to about $8.5 million, the maximum allowed before cash requests have to be approved by the Legislative Council. 'We were told three weeks ago, but we've not seen a cheque yet - large or small,' Mr Yip said. The council is still studying the impact of the Government's decision but it wants to start all the projected training courses even if they have to be curtailed later. 'It will affect our programmes,' he said. 'At the moment we are considering what items to start and the extent to which we can go. 'We are thinking of evening out the money so we can do everything and go part of the way, rather than leave ourselves open to criticism and not do some things.' The head of industrial safety at the Education and Manpower Branch, principal assistant secretary Herman Cho Chun-wah, agreed the council was too late in its request for funding which was why the Finance Branch stepped in. 'There would have been great difficulty in seeking additional funding,' he said, adding the council had $12 million in reserves which could be used until a submission for next year's budget could be made.