Hong Kong temporarily suspends the use of mechanical devices in venues

Following the recent incident during Mirror’s concert at the Hong Kong Coliseum that left two dancers injured

Hong Kong’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) has announced the temporary suspension of mechanical devices that involve the swinging, rotation or carrying of people in concerts with effect from August 2.

The announcement comes after an unfortunate incident during Cantopop boyband Mirror’s concert at the Hong Kong Coliseum on July 28 – which saw a large LED screen suspended above the stage collapse and fall directly on one of the dancers and toppling over another dancer from its impact.

One of the dancers affected, Mo Lee Kai-yin was recently reported to be in a critical condition and is reportedly in danger of being paralysed from the neck down due to the injuries sustained from the accident.

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Besides the temporary suspension of said devices, two more requirements for upcoming concerts were put out by LCSD. Via a press release, hirers who have booked venues in Hong Kong will now be required to “revisit and enhance the safety of their stage design” and their own “brought in mechanical devices” to ensure the safety of all working staff, performers and those in attendance.

Lastly, a daily inspection of those mechanical devices must be conducted by a “competent person whom LCSD agrees to assure safe working”.

In a statement released today (August 2), LCSD shared that they had contacted “major hirers who have booked its venues before the end of September” before announcing these new measures. They also announced that “most of the performances under the LCSD’s performing venues in these two months will not be affected.”

Bringing more clarity as to what a “brought-in mechanical device” qualifies as, a spokesperson explained that it “refers to facilities that are not provided by the venues and those are more complicated installations which require the approval of registered professionals. Ordinary mechanical devices will not fall within this scope and do not require checks by competent persons.”

As for the “competent person” to carry out the inspections, a spokesperson made it clear that it refers “to those trained with actual experience commissioned by hirers with the consent of LCSD. Most of the art groups can arrange qualified stage working staff and registered professional engineers are not required.”

The new requirements for hirers come after a task force led by the LSCD carried out an on-site investigation following the Hong Kong Coliseum incident. The task force is made up by Lee Tsz-chun, Assistant Director of LSCD, alongside representatives from the Labour Department, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, LCSD, and Louis Szeto from Hong Kong Institution of Engineers. Representatives from Hong Kong’s police force aided them in evidence gathering, while Dr Eric Lim assisted with the study of causes of the incident.

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