4 ADDRESSING SOCIAL NEEDS
B. Our Staff

1.     Our staff are our most important resource. They help us fulfil our responsibilities to improve sustainability in Hong Kong. In turn, we provide them with a workplace that is healthy and safe, where employees can freely communicate their needs and concerns and have opportunities to advance their skills and knowledge and contribute to society as a whole.

Environment Bureau (ENB) establishment: 37 staff *
Figure 1 - Breakdown by gender

Total excluding unfilled post: 36


Figure 2 - Breakdown by grade

Total: 37


Environmental Protection Department (EPD) establishment: 1 629 staff *
Figure 3 - Breakdown by gender

Total excluding unfilled post: 1 604

Figure 4 - Breakdown by grade

Total: 1 629

* As at 31 December 2008

Communications

2.      The EPD's Departmental Consultative Committee (DCC) is the main formal channel of communication for achieving better understanding and co-operation between management and staff, as well as discussing issues relating to staff well being, such as conditions of service, office accommodation and training and productivity. Its members include representatives from the department's management team and staff representatives who are elected by their colleagues or nominated by staff associations. The DCC meets every three months. The DCC also has representation on the Departmental Environment, Safety and Health Committee.

Safety and Health

3.      The EPD is deeply committed to providing our staff with a safe and healthy workplace. In 2001 we were the first government department certified under the Occupational Safety and Health Council's Continual Improvement Safety Programme Recognition System (CISPROS), and we have since maintained the certification. We also conduct annual internal safety and health inspections and have designated safety representatives in each of our administrative groups.

4.      Our efforts have helped to keep occupational injury rates to a minimum. In 2008 we had only 3.1 incidents per 1 000 employees, mainly due to injury while lifting or carrying, slipping, tripping and falling. To improve employee alertness and awareness of safety risks, we organised 76 safety and health training classes in 2008 that were attended by 286 staff. We also send out daily safety reminders and tips through our internal intranet system.

Training and Development

5.      Staff training and development is essential to support our operations and services, as well as for staff career and development. We have a comprehensive programme that encompasses new recruits, staff in the middle of their careers, and staff with exceptional potential for higher responsibilities.

6.      Our training activities in 2008 provided staff with an average of three days in training (see table on right). 834 staff attended 100 courses to enhance their professional knowledge and skills, such as green management, corporate social responsibility and energy efficiency and conservation. In addition, 11 staff attended anti-discrimination courses organised by the Civil Service Training and Development Institute of the Civil Service Bureau, to strengthen their understanding of human rights issues in the workplace.

7.      We also contribute to the development of the environmental engineering profession through the Environmental Graduate Training Scheme, which has been certified for the Hong Kong Institute of Engineers' "Scheme A Training" since 1997. By the end of 2008, 41 environmental engineering graduates had received on-the-job training with the EPD, and 26 had completed their training.

Staff Training in 2008

Grade of staff
Number of training days
Senior management
5.3
Professionals
4.4
Inspectorates
3.5
Other staff
0.8
Average per staff member
3

Staff Awareness

8.      Our staff are encouraged to participate in activities that improve the environment and their environmental knowledge, and contribute to the wider community. Family visits were organised in 2008 to Mai Po Nature Reserve and Lamma Wind Turbine to raise environmental awareness. Staff also formed several teams of divers to participate in the Hong Kong Reef Check and go diving in Wong Chuk Kok Tsui near Double Haven, the Hong Kong Reef Check is part of the global programme to promote sustainable management of coral reefs. They also continued to participate in the Green Power Hike.

9.      Staff supported several charitable organisations, such as the Community Chest's Corporate and Employee Contribution Programme and a stationery collection programme organised by the Hong Kong Chinese Civil Servants' Association for Wu Xian Primary School in Shaanxi Province after a severe earthquake in the region.

10.     EPD staff are recognised annually through a departmental presentation ceremony to honour achievements in internal and external sporting activities, as well as long service for staff who have been working in the civil service for more than 20 years.


Family members of EPD staff are attracted by the plant model during visit to Lamma Wind Turbine.
 
Ms Anissa WONG, the Permanent Secretary for the Environment (seated row, centre), and other senior members of EPD management, officiate the annual Staff Recreation and Social Committee presentation ceremony.

See also: Targets - Our Progress and 2009 Aims.