Currently, in Vietnam, the assessment of labor conditions is still based on Official Dispatch No. 2753/LDTBXH-BHLD dated August 1, 1995 of the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs guiding the development of a list of particularly heavy, dangerous and toxic occupations. The criterion-based collective assessment method consists of two main groups: (1) the group of indicators on working environment hygeine and (2) the group of occupational physiological indicators. However, this method still has some limitations such as the evaluation criteria are different in nature but the average value is taken; difficult to apply to specific professions; it is impossible to interact with the factors when they can amplify each other, especially in the presence of toxic and dangerous chemicals at the same time.
In an effort to develop a method of assessing labor conditions to assess the overall impact of factors (physical and non-physical factors) on employees in the workplace, in 2014, in a joint research program between the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor and the Ministry of Science and Technology, VNNIOSH has presided over the implementation of a study to propose a new assessment method, which is suitable to the reality of Vietnam (known as the VNNIOSH-2017 method). This method is built on the basis of the method of the Russian Federation and the current hygiene standards and regulations in Vietnam. Levels of labor conditions also correspond to levels of occupational safety risks. The method of assessing and classifying the quality of the working environment is consistent with the labor conditions. The quality of the working environment sanitation is assessed according to 7 levels (1. Good quality; 2. Acceptable quality; 3. Mildly hazardous; 4. Moderately hazardous; 5. Severely hazardous; 6. Very toxic; 7. Dangerous). These 7 levels are agreed to be equivalent to the labor conditions.
Principle of the method: classification of labor conditions will collectively consider all factors that affect labor conditions such as microclimate, physical and chemical factors, labor burden, labor intensity, etc. Vietnam's standards and regulations on environment and occupational hygiene are established to provide levels corresponding to the labor conditions. Classification of labor regulations collects relevant factors with the following principles:
- If there is only 1 factor that exceeds the allowed standard, it is classified at levels 3 to 7, depending on the excess level and the combination of excess levels.
- If there is an impact of 3 or more factors with quality level 3, the overall assessment will be level 4; If there are 2 or more factors that combine with levels 4, 5, 6, the last level will receive a higher level.
The VNNIOSH-2017 method has shown a number of advantages: it has applied Vietnam's current standards for comparison and classification. The method collectively used the parameters of the working environment and labor burden to identify and classify labor conditions. Up to now, in Vietnam, there has not been a study that proposes a method to evaluate labor conditions other than VNNIOSH-2017, this is also an important premise for the method to develop and improve in the coming time.
Assessing OSH risks at Son La Hydropower plant
With the high development of awareness of OSH, employees have a higher sense of self-protection at work. However, in terms of the management function, it is also necessary to have an effective tool to assess and classify the arduous and dangerous levels of the job positions for employees. This is the necessary legal basis to strengthen the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of employees. The VNNIOSH-2017 method proved to have many advantages because it synthesized the factors affecting the labor conditions and used the new Vietnamese standards.
Assoc Prof PhD. Le Minh Duc
Sub-Institute of OSH and Environment Protection in Central Vietnam (CNIOSH)