Hong Kong - Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance

    Hong Kong

    Hong Kong - Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance

    The Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance (‘CAP 509’) is aimed at ensuring the safety and health of persons when they are at work both industrial and non-industrial, to provide for related matters, and to consequentially amend the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance (‘CAP 59’) and the Administrative Appeals Board Ordinance (‘CAP 442’). 

    Last Updated: July 22, 2019


  • Requirements

    CAP 509 covers almost all workplaces. In addition to factories, construction sites and catering establishments, other places, such as offices, laboratories, shopping arcades, educational institutions also come under the ambit of the law. However, exceptions are also listed below: 

    • an aircraft or vessel in a public place;  
    • the place occupied by the driver of a land transport vehicle when it is in a public place (but other employees working in the vehicle are covered);  
    • domestic premises at which only domestic servants are employed; and  
    • places where only self-employed persons work.  

    Under CAP 509, all employers, occupiers and employees have a role to play in creating a safe and healthy workplace. Employers should contribute to safety and health in their workplaces by:  

    • providing and maintaining work systems that do not endanger safety or health;  
    • making arrangement for ensuring safety and health in connection with the use, handling, storage or transport bulky or heavy substances (e.g. changing distilled water bottles); 
    • providing all necessary information, instruction, training, and supervision for ensuring safety and health (e.g. participating in fire drills); 
    • providing and maintaining safe access to and egress from the workplaces (e.g. keeping all corridors and fire exits clear of obstacles); and 
    • providing and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment (e.g. ensuring the office is well-lit and well-ventilated).

    Enforcement of CAP 509 

    The Commissioner for Labour from the Labour Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (‘the Labour Department’) is empowered to issue improvement notices and suspension notices against activity of workplace which may create an imminent hazard to the employees. Failure to comply with the notices constitutes an offence punishable by a fine of HKD 200,000 (approx. €22,810) and HKD 500,000 (approx. €57,030) respectively and imprisonment of up to 12 months. 

    CAP 509 has subsidiary legislation and accompanying guidance that can be found on the Labour Department‘s website. 

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