21 December 2000
KCRC investigations into West Rail girder incident completed
 
The Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) today (Thursday) announced the findings of its investigations into an incident that occurred on 28 November. A 60-metre girder being positioned for the construction of West Rail viaducts became unstable and moved backward above a work site at Kam Tin round-about, resulting in the temporary closure of a section of Kam Tin Road.
A KCRC spokesman said that investigations conducted by the Corporation and the Contractor found that the incident had occurred because previously approved safety measures were not fully implemented. Locking pin and bolts of a sprocket chain, which are the approved safety devices to avoid uncontrolled movement of the girder, were not in place at the time of the incident.
The investigations found that the contractor’s supervisor in charge of the gantry during the incident had failed to follow the established work procedures and checklists intended to ensure that the locking pin and the sprocket chain were properly locked to its support brackets. The supervisor has been relieved of his duties.
The Labour Department and other relevant Government departments have been fully briefed on the cause of the incident.
After the incident, a comprehensive review of the Contractors' work methods and procedures and the Supervisors' checklists were conducted by KCRC and the Contractor.
As a result of the review, additional precautionary measures were immediately put into effect.
Critical parts of the gantry, locking pins, connector of the sprocket chain and the roller system have been coated with different colours to ensure that they are more easily visible and seen to be properly locked during installation.
Check points have been established for critical activities, to ensure that all appropriate actions have been taken before workers can proceed to the next step of the operations of the girder. At each check point, the necesssary safety measures must be verified and signed off by the Main Contractor and representatives of KCRC’s resident site staff before the works can continue.
As an added safeguard, a further pair of steel chains is now installed to prevent the girder from moving when its operation has been completed.
An intensive programme of re-training, re-evaluation and certification of competency has been conducted by the ssenior management of the Contractor. This will ensure that all the Supervisors have attained the required level of competency in their ability to control each procedure. All thave achieved a level of competency. The Supervisors he Supervisors will be assessed and evaluated on all procedures. After that, each Supervisor will be assessed on an ad-hoc basis, but at least once a month.
The Contractors has also recruited an additional Deputy Project Manager to oversee the operation of works.
KCRC and its resident site staff have increased the frequency of audits to ensure the Contractor strictly follows the established quality control procedures.
Regular site inspections and spot-checks by KCRC's senior managementof, the Contractor, and the resident site staff, will ensure full compliance of the relevant safety standards and procedures. Any deviation will be treated treated as a serious breach of discipline.
The spokesman noted that the Labour Department has been briefed and is satisfied with the additional safety precautions.
"KCRC attaches great importance to safety. West Rail is now in the third year of construction and thus far our incidence rate of 28 accidents per 1,000 workers compares very favourably with the Hong Kong construction industry average of 198 in 1999. Indeed it is the lowest accident rate of any major project in Hong Kong," the spokesman added.
KCRC again regrets the inconvenience to motorists and members of the public caused by the road closure on that day.