Hong Kong's first Nepali-language safety training course for working in confined spaces has been introduced by a private training provider with the help of the Royal Nepalese Consulate. The seven-hour course is conducted in English, while the textbook and exam papers include a Nepali version, translated by Consulate staff. Since its approval by the Labour Department in July, close to 1,000 Nepali workers have received training at Origin Production Limited. According to an ordinance passed last year, it is illegal for employees to work in confined spaces unless they are qualified. English and Chinese courses have been provided since then. But the limited English of ethnic minority workers had created a barrier for them, said Phoebe Chan Kin-pui, managing director of Origin Production Limited. 'When we provided only English training courses last year, many workers achieved fewer than 15 points out of 100 in the exam,' Ms Chan said. 'Their results have significantly improved.' Confined spaces are places of enclosed nature, such as ducts, manholes and interiors of machines. The training provides workers with an understanding of the risks of toxic gases, lack of oxygen, floods, fire or explosion, as well as how to assess safety levels and take protective measures. With construction projects such as the West Rail, Ma On Shan Rail and MTR Tsueng Kwan O Extension pending, more qualified confined space workers will be required. Ms Chan is now working on an Urdu version of the textbook and exam papers. 'Nepali and Pakistani workers form an important part of the construction work force,' she said.