Moment of truth
In the morning of Wednesday 7 September 2022, a tragic accident happened at a housing development construction site off Anderson Road where a tower crane collapsed and fell on multiple containers used as temporary site offices. It caused three fatalities and wounded six others, most of them were working in the containers and therefore had no chance of escape from the catastrophe. Preliminary indication points to failure of the crane’s base mounting which had probably led to the collapse when no lifting operation was being undertaken.
The calamity has brought about immense pain and suffering to the victims and many of their families and loved ones. Two of the casualties belong to the student membership of the HKIE family, one passed away and the other seriously injured. The loss occasioned to the young breed of the engineering profession is a heartbreaking episode particularly so when they suffered as a direct result of working for a public housing project. Valuing their bond with the Institution, the least that we could do was invoking the HKIE Benevolent Fund to make a small financial contribution to each of the two families. Despite that these are not large sums of money, it is hope that the gesture of goodwill could play its part in consolation. If nothing else, the Institution does wish the families to know that our hearts are with them.
With many years of efforts by all concerned to promote zero accidents in construction sites, accidents of such nature should not have occurred at this time. In the aftermath of handling media and public enquiries, we appreciate the sentiments and doubts that the industry’s professional standard might have somehow been compromised. Qualms are also noted from youngsters and their parents about entering a profession that involves unreasonably high risks. Indeed, accident statistics over the past few years also corroborate with such a view. In a bulletin issued by the Labour Department, the number of industrial fatalities is recorded to have escalated from 14 in 2018 to 23 in 2021 by 64.3%. For an advanced economy like Hong Kong, it is a real shame that so many have to sacrifice their lives every year for the construction industry.
We believe that this most unfortunate accident had taught the construction industry a hard lesson. It is a moment that stakeholders should all reflect on what the deficiencies are and what need to be done in establishing “safety first” as the culture at work. Concerted efforts are called for to remove unwarranted risks, abate site accidents and restore public’s confidence over time. The engineer, as the guardian of professional standard, will have a key role to play here. Not only shall we be exercising due care and diligence in discharging duties that could involve safety hazards on site, but the engineer should also impress upon and obligate where necessary anyone against taking unjustifiable risks. The engineer is the linchpin of advocating for a sea change in the culture of the industry.
It will inevitably take some time before the impact on the image of the industry could be alleviated. In the meantime, let us join hand to continue telling our good story so that the engineer could be judged with a more balance perspective in the public’s eye. Let us feel proud to be engineer once again.
Moving on to the 48th year of the Institution, the first Council meeting was held on 15 September 2022 with a photo session of the Council Members including some of our Past Presidents, who are Honorary Members of the Council.
Proposal on the proposed changes to the HKIE organisation structure
The Executive submitted a proposal to the Council on changes to the organisation structure of the Institution. Under the proposal, the Finance and Investment Sub-committee and Staff Resources Sub-committee of the Management Committee will become Committees and be directly responsible to the Administration Board. The proposed changes to the HKIE organisation structure and the related standing committees together with the proposed membership list for Session 2022/2023 were approved by the Council.
Venue and voting centre(s) for the 48th Annual General Meeting (AGM)
For the 48th AGM to be held in June 2023, the Council approved the proposal that the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre is to be the venue and voting centre for the 48th AGM.
Appointment to standing committees
Members’ involvement in the work of the Institution has been the major impetus to progress year on year. Appointment of members onto about 22 standing committees in areas of planning, administration, learned society, qualifications and accreditation business of the Institution as well as the 21 Discipline Advisory Panels constituted an important item of the first Council meeting at the beginning of a session to take forward the various initiatives and plans for the year. The Council has also appointed a panel from which Boards of Inquiry may be formed for the purpose of considering and making recommendations to the Council in regard to any case of improper conduct of a member in accordance with the Constitution.
Co-option onto the Council for Session 2022/2023
The Council resolved to co-opt two members onto the Council for Session 2022/2023 with reference to the provision of the Constitution and we are pleased to report that Ir Antonio Chan Chi-ming and Ir the Hon Gary Zhang Xinyu have been co-opted as co-opted members for the Session. We welcome them on board to join the Council for this Session.
The International Council on Electrical Engineering (ICEE) Conference 2023
The International Council on Electrical Engineering (ICEE) Conference 2023 will be held from 2 - 6 July 2023 in Hong Kong. The Conference is hosted by the HKIE, and jointly organised with the Chinese Society for Electrical Engineering, the Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan and the Korean Institute of Electrical Engineers.
The theme of the ICEE Conference 2023 is “Frontiers in Carbon Neutrality Power and Energy”. Abstract submission is now open. Members who are interested in submitting an abstract may visit the ICEE Conference 2023 website at https://www.hkie.org.hk/icee2023 for more details.