29 November 1999
Campaign on West Rail occupational health launched
 
A major education campaign on the prevention of a common construction site disease, Pneumoconiosis, is launched today (Monday) for construction workers working on Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation's West Rail project.
The campaign, in the form of a series of site talks for ground workers, is a joint initiative by the Pneumoconiosis Compensation Fund Board (PCFB) and KCRC.The aim is to prevent incidence of Pneumoconiosis, an irreversible lung disease which strikes more than 100 construction workers in Hong Kong each year.
The West Rail Project is entering full-scale construction and at the peak of construction activities over the next two years about 11,000 construction workers will be hired to work on the project.
Speaking at a ceremony to kick off the series of site talks, Chairman of PCFB, Mr David Wong, noted that stepped-up occupational health education and preventive measures at work sites have resulted in a steady decline in the number of new Pneumoconiosis cases.
"A total of 109 cases are reported last year, down from the highest of 510 cases recorded in 1982," he said, adding that the Board would like to see the number of new cases capped at below 100 cases a year.
Acting Deputy Commissioner for Labour, Mr William Siu, said that Pneumoconiosis is a serious disease causing pain and financial loss to patients, their family members and the community as a whole.
"Prevention of Pneumoconiosis requires the constant vigilance, discipline and cooperation of employers, employees, professional bodies and the Government," he said.
Also speaking at the kick-off ceremony, KCRC's Director of West Rail, Mr Ian Thoms, said that KCRC, as a major railway operator, has a most enviable safety record, with only 0.6 injuries per one million passengers carried.
"Now that we are a major railway builder, we will again achieve the highest standard of construction safety and occupational health through education and preventive measures such as requiring all West Rail's tunnel workers to put on respirators," he said.
West Rail will deliver to the people of Hong Kong a world-class railway built in a way that achieves the highest safety and occupation health standard, he said.