Labour Department takes firms and individuals to court over fatal accident at Hong Kong-Zhuhai bridge
Contractors, foreman, site manager and engineer among those issued summonses over incident that killed two workers and injured three others
The Labour Department is taking a number of firms and individuals to court over safety issues as it concludes its investigation into a deadly accident at the site of the multibillion-dollar Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge.
The companies facing action included the three in the joint venture building the section of road where the accident happened: Dragages, China Harbour and VSL.
On March 29, two workers were killed and three others injured when a temporary working platform they were dismantling under a viaduct over the sea off Tai O, Lantau Island, suddenly collapsed. The workers were hooked to the platform with harnesses and fell into the sea along with it.
In a concise report to the Legislative Council’s manpower panel, the department said the accident was mainly down to the failure of unstable temporary supports for the hydraulic jacks in a lifting system.
This caused a lifting beam to collapse, which in turn caused two ropes suspending the platform to break.
The investigation found that three of the workers were dismantling a scaffold around the platform with their safety harnesses attached to it. The report deemed this an unsuitable anchorage point.
The department concluded that the root cause of the accident was the lack of a safe system for dismantling temporary structures.
In addition, the lifting system had not been certified safe before being used.
Each of the partners in the joint venture Dragages-China Harbour-VSL, the principal contractor for the construction of the relevant section of Hong Kong Link Road, faced 16 summonses under the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance or the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance.
Ove Arup and Partners Hong Kong, the consultant engaged by the Highways Department for the construction of that section, was issued two summonses.
Scaffolding subcontractor WSS Engineering Systems and general labour supply contractor United Construction and Manpower each received one summons.
Meanwhile, a foreman and a general site manager from Dragages and a senior engineer from ARUP were each issued a summons for an offence under the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance.
The summonses will be brought up for mention at West Kowloon Court on Thursday.
The bridge – which links Hong Kong to neighbouring casino hub Macau and to Zhuhai, in Guangdong province – has cost HK$117 billion so far, after repeated budget overruns.