Regulation of Electrical Safety
The Electricity Ordinance and its subsidiary regulations form the core of the regulatory framework for electrical safety in Hong Kong. The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) maintains close cooperation and communication with different stakeholders, and ensures that the relevant legislations are enforced effectively, thereby providing continued protection to the public in the use of electricity. The Electricity Ordinance covers all aspects of electricity supply and utilisation, including electrical installations, household electrical products and electricity supply facilities. EMSD complements law enforcement actions with publicity and education to ensure a stable supply of electricity and high standards of electrical safety in Hong Kong.
Electricity Supply Facilities
To ensure safe and reliable electricity supply in Hong Kong, EMSD conducts regular inspections of electricity supply facilities and draws up codes of practice to provide technical guidelines for electricity suppliers. In enforcing the Electricity Supply Lines (Protection) Regulation, EMSD requires that any person who carries out works in the vicinity of electricity supply lines must take reasonable steps and measures to prevent the electricity cables from being damaged. We administer a list of approved competent persons and provide codes of practice to facilitate understanding of legislative requirements by concerned parties.
The Electricity (Wiring) Regulations set out the statutory requirements on the design, installation and maintenance of fixed electrical installations. EMSD has published the Code of Practice for the Electricity (Wiring) Regulations, which it regularly updates, to provide comprehensive and practical technical and safety guidelines for the electrical trade. Proactive inspections on the electrical installations of buildings are also carried out to ensure that the installation owners and the trade comply with the statutory requirements. We also conduct investigations on accidents and complaint cases, and issue improvement notices to or take prosecution action against offenders. We have established a registration system for electrical workers and electrical contractors under the Electricity (Registration) Regulations, and kept and maintained relevant registers for public inspection. We also monitor the performance of trade members in respect of their technical skills and safety standards, and take disciplinary action when necessary. By implementing the Continuing Professional Development Scheme for Registered Electrical Worker, we encourage trade members to make constant effort to better equip themselves and be abreast of the latest technological developments.
Household Electrical Products
In regard to electrical products, the Electrical Products (Safety) Regulation stipulates that any household electrical product supplied for use in Hong Kong must comply with safety requirements and be issued with a certificate of safety compliance by a recognised certification body. To prevent unsafe electrical appliances from being supplied in Hong Kong, EMSD conducts inspections of electrical product outlets and collaborates with the Consumer Council in carrying out regular safety tests on various kinds of electrical products. If any electrical product is found to be not complying with the safety requirements, EMSD will immediately request the supplier to recall the product. In the light of the large volume of electrical products imported from the Mainland, we have since 2004 entered into a cooperation arrangement with the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine and set up a notification mechanism to promote communication on unsafe electrical products between the law enforcement personnel on both sides. This has been instrumental in ensuring that all imported electrical products meet the statutory standards of Hong Kong.