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Creating a culture of safety

DSAL is expanding its information sessions to the gaming sector, and increasing on-site inspections to improve work safety and curb health hazard exposure

Orders for the suspension of works carried out by the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL) went up 40.9 per cent last year when compared to the previous year, according to the latest data from the body.
In addition, while following the bureau’s ‘punishment, suspension of works and immediate awareness’ campaign, the group saw a total of 309 accusation claims, with total fines resulting from them amounting to MOP882,000, an 11.36 per cent increase from the previous year.
The overall number of labour conflicts in the civil construction sector was 893 cases in 2016, down from 1,029 cases in 2015, or a decrease of 13.2 per cent year-on-year, according to data released last Friday in a conference held by the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL).
The conference was organized to present information and results from the bureau’s actions on raising awareness and supplying information to employers and employees about their rights and obligations within the scope of the labour law and relevant legislation.
The total number of labour conflicts – or registered complaints – hit 2,713 cases in 2016, of which 1,975 were closed before the end of the year. The bureau registered a 4.8 per cent drop from 2015, when the number of complaint cases filed hit 2,851.
Speaking about the DSAL report on workplace inspections, Lai Kin Lon, representing the Labour Inspection Department, added that the number of cases resolved in 2015 was 1,737. The conclusion of cases from 2015 to 2016 was, therefore, up 12 per cent. He also noted that the majority of labour-related complaints had come from the construction sector, and that the average time to deal with cases was 70 days.

Information and training
Invested in its role as a ‘platform for the resolution of labour conflicts,’ DSAL informed that it will continue to conduct inspections of major construction sites, as well as delivering services “in loco,” visiting companies and employment agencies to provide legal assistance and information.
In order to raise awareness about employee safety and occupational health on construction sites, DSAL carried out 117 information sessions, reaching 5,398 participants.
In addition, DSAL and the Housing Bureau organized 17 explanatory sessions for institutions and associations regarding the law on minimum wages for cleaning and security staff, enacted on 1 January 2016, said Lai Kin Lon.
For 2017, the bureau said it will continue to organize thematic information sessions, increase its presence online (e.g. Facebook, We Chat), and prepare short-films to circulate relevant legal information to a wider audience across different economic sectors.
Lam Iok Cheong, from the Occupational Safety and Health Department, said they had organized various seminars during the past year, and that the bureau is preparing new actions to work closely with the gaming sector. Addressing Business Daily’s queries, Lam explained that given that “an important number of Macau’s population is employed by the sector,” they are planning “to visit gaming facilities to inform workers about their rights, to teach them how to alleviate work pressure by practicing light exercise during work shifts, and offering informative interactive games to clarify rights and obligations.”

Lai Kin Lon, from the Labour Inspection Department, reported that the number of labour conflicts within the gaming sector was down 14.5 per cent from a year earlier, hitting 230 cases in 2016, compared to 269 in 2015. The main reasons for the conflicts included salary disputes and layoffs.

From January to September 2016, DSAL recorded five cases of deaths on construction sites. According to Ng Peng Chi, Head of the Department for Risk Prevention, two of the cases were caused by falling persons, two of them by falling objects, and one by electrocution. For the whole year of 2015, the number of deaths caused by work accidents totalled nine cases.