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Hong Kong Labor Dept. Urges Employers to Prioritize Worker Safety Amid Heat Wave


As scorching temperatures scorch the region, the Hong Kong Labour Department has activated a Heat Stress at Work Warning system to protect workers from the dangers of heat-related illnesses.

The warning system, which ranges from Amber to Red to Black, provides employers and employees with guidelines on how to mitigate the risks of heat stress for those working outdoors or in non-air-conditioned environments.

A Labour Department spokesman stressed the importance of employers taking proactive measures, such as rescheduling work periods, setting up shading, and ensuring adequate ventilation and hydration. “Employees face high levels of heat stress and are at greater risk of heat stroke,” the spokesman said. “Employers must conduct thorough risk assessments and provide appropriate rest breaks.”

According to the guidance, rest breaks should be arranged at least once an hour, with the frequency increased as the Heat Stress Warning level rises. Workers are also urged to heed any symptoms of heat-related illness, like headaches or dizziness, and immediately seek respite in a cool, shaded area.

The Heat Stress at Work Warning is based on the Hong Kong Heat Index, giving both employers and employees a clear indication of the dangers posed by the elements. Labour authorities say strict adherence to the guidelines is essential to prevent heat stroke and protect the wellbeing of the city’s workforce.

As temperatures continue to soar, Hong Kong workers are reminded to stay hydrated, take breaks, and prioritize their health and safety on the job. Employers who fail to comply with the warning risk penalties, underscoring the critical role they play in safeguarding their employees’ welfare during extreme heat conditions.

The LD issued the “Guidance Notes on Prevention of Heat Stroke at Work”, detailing the various risk factors that should be considered when conducting heat stress risk assessments and recommending corresponding control measures for identified risk factors for employers’ and employees’ reference. For the Heat Stress at Work Warning and related guidelines, please refer to the department’s thematic webpage: www.labour.gov.hk/eng/news/prevention_of_heat_stroke_at_work.htm.