Questions

提高升降機安全的措施 Measures to enhance lift safety

  以下為立法會會議上盧偉國議員的提問和發展局局長陳茂波的書面答覆:


問題 :

  在本月初一宗升降機墜下的意外中,肇事升降機的4條鋼纜全部斷裂,而其機械制停裝置亦未有發揮設計效用,制停下墜中的升降機。當局其後巡查由有關的承辦商保養的其他升降機,並發現有多部升降機有問題而需立即暫停使用。據悉,該承辦商在機電工程署的「註冊升降機承辦商表現評級」中的排名一直偏低。有市民指出,該等事件反映監管升降機維修保養的制度問題多多,未能確保承辦商妥善維修和保養升降機。就此,政府可否告知本會:

(一) 對於評分排名長期偏低而且屢出安全問題的註冊升降機承辦商,當局除了向他們發出警告信外,有否針對該等承辦商採取其他的跟進措施;若有,詳情為何;若否,原因為何;

(二) 機電工程署會否因應上述的升降機意外,全面檢討監管升降機維修保養的制度,並相應地增加所需資源和增聘專業人員,以加強監管工作;若會,詳情為何;若否,原因為何;

(三) 當局有否考慮加強宣傳和推廣工作,指導物業擁有人及物業管理公司在甄選維修保養升降機的承辦商時需要考慮哪些因素(包括承辦商的人手安排、過往表現和所得評分等);若有,詳情為何;若否,原因為何;

(四) 當局有否全面檢視全港有多少部升降機已過於殘舊而必須更換;當局有否考慮資助有經濟困難的業主支付更換該等升降機的工程費用,以免他們被迫繼續使用該等升降機;若有,詳情為何;若否,原因為何;及

(五) 當局除了制定已於二○一二年十二月十七日全面實施的《升降機及自動梯條例》(第618章),以提高維修和保養升降機的安全標準和加強監管外,有否配套措施協助業界解決其主要的經營困難(例如惡性的價格競爭等),並理順行業的結構性問題;若有,詳情為何;若否,原因為何?

答覆 :

主席:

  於二○一二年四月制定的《升降機及自動梯條例》(《條例》)已於二○一二年十二月全面實施。《條例》設有一系列加強規管註冊承辦商的措施,包括清楚訂明註冊承辦商須確保其負責維修保養的升降機工程妥善和安全地進行、把可判處的最高罰款由港幣一萬元提升至20萬元而最高監禁期維持在12個月、引入註冊續期制度並規定註冊承辦商須每五年為其註冊續期,以及授權註冊主任可按《條例》取消或暫時吊銷註冊承辦商的註冊。在執法方面,機電工程署(機電署)會以風險評估為基礎抽樣巡查全港的升降機,監察註冊承辦商的工作。此外,機電署於二○○九年六月推行了「註冊升降機承辦商表現評級」制度(「表現評級制度」)。該制度主要是根據機電署的巡查發現,按既定的機制扣減註冊承辦商的表現評分,並每季公布註冊承辦商的表現評級,以協助升降機擁有人或其物業管理公司選擇合適的承辦商為其升降機進行維修保養工程。

  就問題的五個部分,我現答覆如下:

(一) 在「表現評級制度」下,機電署會根據以下情況向相關註冊承辦商發出警告信:

(a) 對任何一部升降機檢查時發現有違規事項而累積扣減註冊承辦商表現評分12分或以上;或
(b) 註冊承辦商在12個月內平均被扣減表現評分超過4分。

  若註冊承辦商累積接獲三封警告信,機電署會考慮要求設立紀律審裁委員會進行紀律聆訊。此外,機電署進行巡查時如發現註冊承辦商有任何違規或違紀行為,均會採取合適的執法行動,包括提出檢控或要求設立紀律審裁委員會進行紀律聆訊。

  過去三年,上述的警告信共發出23封。此外,機電署在過去三年成功檢控四間註冊承辦商涉及共11項罪名。發展局局長因應機電署署長的要求共兩次設立紀律審裁委員會,就註冊承辦商的表現進行紀律聆訊。

(二) 本月初北角發生的升降機事故,機電署正檢視監管升降機維修保養的制度,包括考慮將抽查的比率定得更有彈性和更有針對性,例如,針對表現差的承辦商、機齡高及經常發生故障的同一型號升降機等,可以更加頻密抽驗。政府稍後會設立一個「升降機及自動梯安全諮詢委員會」,委員會成員除了業界團體代表外,還會包括物業管理機構及消費者等業外代表,廣納各界意見,確保升降機及自動梯操作安全。

  在人手方面,機電署於二○一○年獲批准增加共八個包括工程師及督察級的職位,以加強升降機及自動梯安全的規管。在條例全面實施後,機電署會繼續以風險評估為基礎進行抽查,嚴格執行條例的規定。當局會不時檢討人手的安排,以確保有適當資源進行執法及公眾教育的工作。

(三) 機電署現時透過發出「升降機的負責人手冊」及舉辦講座,向物業擁有人及物業管理公司宣傳和推廣,並鼓勵在選擇承辦商時,除價格外亦需考慮包括承辦商的人力資源、技術支援及過往表現,當中包括事故、警告信紀錄及評級等因素,使他們的升降機能保持於安全操作狀態。自二○一二年至今,機電署舉辦了30多場講座,共有超過3 000名物業擁有人、物業管理公司代表及業內人士出席。當局會全面檢視關乎升降機安全的宣傳和推廣工作,務求加深市民的升降機安全意識及更有效地勸導市民在選擇承辦商時需注意的因素。

(四) 根據《條例》的規定,每部升降機不論其機齡多少均須由註冊承辦商至少每月進行定期保養工程一次,並由註冊工程師每年至少一次檢驗。如升降機的檢驗結果未能滿足訂明的安全要求,不論機齡多少,機電署皆不會發出准用證,以保障公眾安全。為協助物業擁有人保養及維修其升降機,機電署於二○一一年十二月推出「優化升降機指引」及進行一連串的推廣活動。除了技術支援外,當局亦提供下列三種財政支援,以協助有需要的升降機擁有人進行升降機維修工程:

(a) 由市區重建局及香港房屋協會(房協)提供的「樓宇維修綜合支援計劃」,提供津貼協助破舊和失修樓宇的業主進行包括升降機的維修工程;
(b) 由屋宇署提供的「樓宇安全貸款計劃」,可向合資格業主提供免息貸款進行包括升降機的維修工程;及
(c) 由政府委託房協管理的「長者維修自住物業津貼計劃」,協助他們維修和保養其自住物業及公用地方,包括升降機。

(五) 有業內人士向我們反映升降機行業存在價格競爭和欠缺新人入行的問題。

  在價格競爭方面,除了加強規管註冊承辦商以保障公眾安全外,我們會加強上文第三部分所述的宣傳和推廣工作,勸導市民在選擇承辦商時需注意價格以外的因素,確保安全。此外,機電署會繼續定期公布註冊承辦商表現評級,使物業擁有人及物業管理公司可以獲得資訊選擇合適的註冊承辦商。我們相信以上措施能促使註冊承辦商以合理的價格承辦工程合約,從而改善他們的營商環境,並更有條件投資在人力資源上。

  在吸引更多新人入行方面,相關措施包括提升工程人員的專業地位、加強培訓及改善工作環境。詳情如下:

(a) 提升工程人員的專業地位

  《條例》引入的工程人員註冊制度取代了與僱主掛的合資格工人安排,令他們在工作選擇上更具彈性,以及在薪酬福利上更具議價能力。

(b) 加強培訓

  建造業議會正與香港機電工程商聯會、電梯業協會及職業訓練局積極商討,為建造業機電工種提供更多培訓,各方已原則上同意為建造業機電工種推行「承建商合作培訓計劃」,及為有志於完成職業訓練局的機電基本工藝課程後,投身成為機電學徒的學員提供資助,以提升建造業的機電工種人力資源。

(c)改善工作環境

  機電署不時連同業界並根據行業的最新發展,檢討及更新《升降機工程及自動梯工程實務守則》,提升工作環境的要求,例如新近加入了訂明承辦商應在進行工作前,評估升降機井道的溫度、通風、照明等工作環境條件的要求,以確保適合工友進行相關工作

 

Following is a question by the Dr Hon Lo Wai-kwok and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council:


Question:

     In an accident earlier this month in which a lift dropped suddenly, all four suspension cables of the lift involved had snapped, and its safety protection system had not functioned as designed to stop the lift from dropping.  The authorities subsequently inspected the other lifts which were maintained by the contractor concerned, and found that quite a number of them had problems and had to suspend service immediately.  It has been learnt that the ranking of the contractor in the "Registered Lift Contractors' Performance Rating" of the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) has all along been low.  Some members of the public have pointed out that such incidents reflect that the regulatory system for the repair and maintenance of lifts is plagued with problems, and it fails to ensure proper repair and maintenance of lifts by contractors.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council

(a)  whether, apart from issuing warning letters to the registered lift contractors with low ranking in performance rating for a long period of time and repeatedly involved in safety problems, the authorities have taken other follow-up measures targeting at such contractors; if they have, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(b)  whether EMSD will, in the light of the aforesaid lift accident, conduct a comprehensive review of the regulatory system for the repair and maintenance of lifts, and correspondingly increase the resources needed and employ additional professional staff so as to step up its monitoring work; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(c)  whether the authorities have considered stepping up publicity and promotion work, so as to provide guidance for property owners and property management companies on the factors (including the contractor's manpower arrangements, past performance and performance scores, etc.) to be considered when selecting contractors for the repair and maintenance of their lifts; if they have, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(d)  whether the authorities have conducted a comprehensive review to ascertain the number of lifts in Hong Kong which are so dilapidated that their replacement is required; whether the authorities have considered providing subsidies for property owners with financial hardship to pay the costs for such lift replacement works, to obviate the continued use of those lifts compellably; if they have, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(e)  apart from enacting the Lifts and Escalators Ordinance (Cap. 618), which came into full operation on December 17, 2012, to enhance the safety standards for the repair and maintenance of lifts and to strengthen regulatory control, whether the authorities have any complementary measures to assist the trade in tackling its major business difficulties (e.g. vicious price competition, etc.), and to sort out the structural problems of the trade; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
 
Reply:

President,

     The Lifts and Escalators Ordinance (the Ordinance), enacted in April 2012, came into full operation in December 2012.  The Ordinance has introduced a series of enhanced regulatory measures against registered contractors.  It clearly stipulates that registered contractors must ensure that their lift maintenance works are carried out properly and safely; increases the maximum fine from HK$10,000 to HK$200,000 with the maximum imprisonment period maintained at 12 months; introduces a registration renewal system under which registered contractors are required to renew their registration every five years; and empowers the Registrar to cancel or suspend the registration of registered contractors pursuant to the provisions of the Ordinance.  On enforcement, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) conducts sample inspections on all lifts in Hong Kong on a risk-assessment basis to monitor the work of registered contractors.  Furthermore, the EMSD implemented in June 2009 a Registered Lift Contractors Performance Rating Scheme (the Performance Rating Scheme) under which performance monitoring (PM) points of registered contractors are deducted according to an established mechanism for irregularities found by EMSD during inspections.  The performance ratings of registered contractors are published quarterly to help lift owners or their property management companies select suitable contractors to carry out maintenance and repair works for their lifts.

     My reply to the five parts of the question is as follows:

(a)  Under the Performance Rating Scheme, the EMSD will issue warning letters to the registered contractors in the following cases:

(i)  where a total of 12 or more PM points are deducted for non-compliant items found in a single lift during inspection; or

(ii)  over 4 PM points are deducted on average within a 12-month period.

     Registered contractors who have received a total of three warning letters may be subject to disciplinary hearings.  Besides, the EMSD will take appropriate enforcement actions against registered contractors for non-compliances or disciplinary offences found in the course of inspections, including initiating prosecutions or requesting for setting up disciplinary boards to conduct disciplinary hearings.

     In the past three years, the EMSD has issued 23 warning letters as mentioned.  Besides, the EMSD convicted four registered contractors on 11 charges in the past three years.  At the request of the Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services, the Secretary for Development has set up two disciplinary boards to conduct disciplinary hearings on the performance of registered contractors.

(b)  The EMSD is reviewing the monitoring mechanism for maintenance and repair works for lifts in the wake of an incident occurred at North Point in early March.  One of the measures under consideration is factoring in flexibility and specific targets to the spot check ratio.  For instance, lifts maintained by contractors with poor performance ratings, has long years of service and are of models with record of frequent breakdowns would be subject to more frequent spot checks.  The Administration will set up a Lift and Escalator Safety Advisory Committee shortly.  The Committee will comprise members drawing from both inside and outside the trade, including property management companies and consumers, in order to take in the views of various sectors on ways to ensure the safe operation of lifts and escalators.

     With respect to manpower resources, the EMSD obtained approval in 2010 for creating eight new posts (including the ranks of engineers and inspectors) to strengthen regulation for the safety of lifts and escalators.  After the Ordinance has come into full operation, the EMSD continues to conduct audit inspections according to a risk-based approach and strictly enforce the provisions of the Ordinance.  The Administration will review from time to time manpower situation to ensure that appropriate resources are allocated for law enforcement and public education work.

(c)  Through issuing Guidebook for Responsible Persons for Lifts and conducting talks, the EMSD publicises and promotes the following message to property owners and management companies.  When selecting contractors for maintaining their lifts in safe working order, they are encouraged to also consider other factors in addition to price.  These factors include manpower resources, technical support and past performance (including records of incidents and warning letters as well as performance ratings) of the contractors.  Since 2012, the EMSD has held over 30 talks for over 3 000 property owners, management companies' representatives and trade practitioners.  The Administration will conduct a comprehensive review on the publicity and promotion work, with a view to raising the public's awareness of lift safety and drawing their attention to the factors that should be considered when selecting contractors.


(d)  The Ordinance provides that every lift, irrespective of their years of service, must undergo maintenance works by a registered contractor at least once a month and examination by a registered engineer at least once a year.  For ensuring public safety, the EMSD will not issue Use Permits to lifts that fail to meet the safety standards under examination, irrespective of their years of service.  To help property owners maintain and repair their lifts, the EMSD issued the Guidelines on Modernising Existing Lifts in December 2011.  It also launched a series of publicity activities.   In addition to technical support, the Administration offers the following three kinds of financial assistance to help lift owners in need to carry out lift maintenance works:

(i)  subsidies are available to owners of old and dilapidated buildings for carrying out repair and maintenance works, including lift maintenance works, under the Integrated Building Maintenance Assistance Scheme which is administered jointly by the Urban Renewal Authority and the Hong Kong Housing Society;

(ii)  interest free loans are available to eligible property owners for repair works, including lift works, under the Building Safety Loan Scheme of the Buildings Department; and

(iii)  assistance are available to owner-occupiers for maintenance and repair works to their properties and common areas, including lifts, under the Building Maintenance Grant Scheme for Elderly Owners administered by the Hong Kong Housing Society.

(e)  Some trade practitioners reflected that the trade faced problems of price competition and shortage of new entrants.

     On price competition, besides stepping up regulation against registered contractors to protect public safety, we will also enhance publicity and promotion work mentioned in part (c) above to urge people to be mindful of factors other than price in selecting contractors to ensure safety.  The EMSD will continue to publish the performance ratings of registered contractors regularly to help property owners and property management companies make informed choices in selecting appropriate registered contractors.  These measures will enable registered contractors to bid for contracts at reasonable prices and improve their operating environment.  The trade will also be better placed to make investments in manpower.

     Various measures have been put in place to enhance the professional status of engineers, strengthen training and improve the working environment in order to attract more entrants to the trade.  Details are as follows.

(i)  Enhancing the professional status of the workers

     The registration regime for workers introduced under the Ordinance to replace the employer-tied arrangement, provides workers with more flexibility in choosing jobs and bargaining power in negotiating remuneration packages.

(ii)  Strengthening training

     Currently, the Construction Industry Council is deliberating with the Hong Kong Federation of Electrical and Mechanical Contractors, the Lift and Escalator Contractors' Association and the Vocational Training Council (VTC) on ways to provide more training for electrical and mechanical trade in construction industry.  To increase the manpower for the trade, they have agreed in principle to introduce the Contractor Cooperative Training Scheme for the electrical and mechanical trade of the construction industry and provide assistance to those trainees who intend to join the ranks of electrical and mechanical apprentices after completing VTC's basic craft courses in electrical and mechanical engineering.

(iii)  Improving working conditions

     The EMSD has been working from time to time with the trade and in the light of the latest developments in the industry to review and update the Code of Practice for Lift Works and Escalator Works (CoP) with a view to raising the requirements on working conditions.  For instance, the CoP has recently introduced a new provision that required contractors to assess and confirm that the environmental factors, such as temperature, ventilation, lightings, etc., inside the lift shaft are suitable before commencing works.

立法會盧偉國議員 博士 工程師 (工程界)
Legislative Council Ir Dr Hon Lo Wai Kwok (Functional Constituency - Engineering)