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Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024

Helper pays deadly price for doing illegal part of the job

Helper pays deadly price for doing illegal part of the job

The Philippines envoy to Hong Kong has described the death of a domestic helper who fell from an 18th floor apartment in Lai Chi Kok while cleaning a window yesterday as "deplorable."
He also called attention to a law barring employers from ordering helpers to clean windows.

The woman was cleaning a window in Tower 6 of the Manhattan Hill housing estate on Po Lun Street when she fell to a platform below.

Police received a report at 11.23am and found the 38-year-old helper unconscious. Medics took her to Caritas Medical Centre, but she eventually succumbed to her injuries. Officers found a bottle of detergent and a cloth near an apartment window.

"What happened is truly shocking and utterly deplorable," Philippines consul-general Raly Tejada told The Standard. "The Philippine government deeply regrets the tragedy and assures her family of all necessary assistance," he added.

He point to the ban on cleaning outward-facing windows introduced in 2017, saying: "We all know window cleaning is dangerous ... yet there are still employers who violate the [law]."

The law was introduced following several incidents that saw helpers fall to their deaths while cleaning windows.

Helpers cannot not be assigned to clean the outside of any window above ground level unless there is a grille. In May 2020, the Labor Department said it did not keep statistics or information on "claims related to non-compliance with the window-cleaning requirements."

Mahee Leclerc, general manager at HelperChoice, said the tragedy was avoidable and called on employment agencies to provide Labor Department guidelines to employers.

"Sometimes workers want to do the right thing by cleaning the window in spite of the ban and put themselves in danger," she added.
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