Labour Department officials in Hong Kong have reminded employers and workers to stay alert about safety – especially when cleaning windows for the Chinese New Year.

“It is customary for families to conduct a thorough clean-up of their homes to get ready for the Chinese New Year. Many will either perform the chores themselves or engage cleaning workers to help,” according to a government release.

The department reminded both employers and cleaning workers to take heed of safety precautions when undertaking household chores, in particular window cleaning, which involves the potential risk of falling from height.

The department also reminded employers and workers to undertake some precautions, such as installing secured window grilles as far as practicable and keeping them closed while cleaning windows; for cleaners to never stretching their body out a window and never step out onto a windowsill, but instead use retractable tools to clean windows to ensure absolute safety.

A number of photos and videos have surfaced on social media in recent years showing people, including domestic workers cleaning the windows from the outside of high-rise residential buildings in the city.

At least 10 tragedies have occurred over the past five years when people fell to their death while cleaning windows.

In 2017, the Labor Department introduced rules aimed at protecting domestic helpers from requests to clean the exterior of windows in high-rise buildings.

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