Action Month for Occupational Safety and Health 2019

On the morning of 4 May, in Tam Ky city (Quang Nam), the Central Steering Committee for Action Month on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), in coordination with the Ministry of Labour –Invalids and Social Affairs, the General Confederation of Labour and the Provincial People’s Committee of Quang Nam, has organized a Launching Ceremony for the Action Month on OSH in 2019.

With the theme of "Strengthening assessment and management of the occupational safety and health risks at the workplace", the Central Steering Committee for Action Month on OSH has proposed that ministries, sectors, local authorities, enterprises and workers continue to promote the achievements in 2018; set out specific measures to overcome shortcomings, limitations; proactively prevent labour accidents, occupational diseases and build OSH culture in enterprises.

Mr. Le Tan Dung - Deputy Minister of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs - launching the Action Month for OSH 2019 Source: Internet

According to the report of the Steering Committee of Action Month on OSH, there were many practical activities in 2018 such as organizing of hundreds of competitions on OSH laws, competitions among OSH activists; issuing over 500 thousand leaflets and publications which reached many enterprises and workers. Emulation movements to ensure the improvement of OSH on a large scale in enterprises and facilities such as green - clean - beautiful movement, safe workshop corner movement, movement to mobilize the signing of commitment to emulate in ensuring OSH and movement to build an OSH culture. There are more than 2 million employees who take periodic health examinations; more than 700 thousand cases of workers utilizing examination and treatment services at medical facilities nationwide.

In 2018, professional training has been conducted for more than 300 safety inspectors; the inspection of more than 3 million machines and equipment with strict labour safety requirements has been carried out; more than 8,000 lifting equipment, pressure equipment and nearly 4 million personal protective equipment have been certified. More than 300 thousand cases of workers exposed to harmful factors are examined for occupational diseases, thereby discovering more than 3,500 cases of disease. Diseases with high prevalence includes occupational noise-induced hearing loss (66.6%) and occupational silicosis (16.8%).

In the sector regarding Labour – Invalids and Social Affairs, more than 3,000 inspections in the field of labour have been conducted; more than 16 thousand self-test votes have been issued, more than 26 thousand wrong-doings have been discovered. The Inspectorate of Ministry of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs has inspected and examined OSH in more than 200 enterprises, corporations, 9 construction projects; and consequently it has issued more than 1,400 legal remedies for the wrong-doings, 25 decisions to sanction administrative violations with the total fine of more than VND 1,000 billion.

Nationwide, consultation has been conducted for more than 4,500 enterprises to establish and effectively implement OSH management systems; 60,000 people working in positions with strict requirements for OSH or having hazardous occupations have been supported by OSH training; more than 40 craft villages, 600 cooperatives, more than 50,000 small and medium enterprises, and 2,000 members of Farmer Association who work in hazardous and dangerous situations, etc., have been regularly educated on OSH.

However, in 2018, 7,997 accidents occurred across the country, causing 8,229 people injured. In the area with contractual labour relations, there were 7,090 cases of occupational accidents, causing more than 7,000 people injured and 622 deaths (number of fatal labour accidents decreased by 10.8%, the number of deaths decreased by 6.6% compared to 2017). In the area devoid of labour contracts, more than 900 occupational accidents occurred, causing more than 400 deaths. Compared to 2017, the number of deaths and seriously injured people tends to increase. The number of localities reporting labour accidents in the area without contractual labour relations has been higher than in 2017 (51/43).

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Deputy Minister of Labour –Invalids and Social Affairs Le Tan Dung affirmed that in 2018, OSH activities have gained multiple achievements, raising awareness of workers, employers and society at large; increased labour productivity; improved working conditions and environment. However, the Deputy Minister also said that many shortcomings concerning OSH still existed, for example, the number of labour accident still remained high causing a serious concern. Especially, in the area devoid of labour contracts, mortality rates increased by 59%, requiring more attention. In the first months of 2019, there were a number of occupational accidents in the construction industry. These are particularly serious cases of fire and explosion, causing many dead and injured, inflicting severe damages to human lives and property.

In order to effectively and practically implement Action Month, the Deputy Minister suggested that ministries, sectors, local authorities and enterprises focus on several key tasks such as: continuing the integrated, regular and effective implementation of directions in the spirit of Directive 29-CT/TW issued by the Party Central Committee's Secretariat on promoting OSH in the period of industrialization, modernization and international integration; Law on OSH and its guiding documents; improving the identification of hazards and risks assessment and proposing solutions to prevent risks of labour accidents and occupational diseases. It is necessary to consider this as a breakthrough to raise awareness and change the mindset of workers and employers, thereby encouraging them to take specific and practical actions.

Ministries, sectors, local authorities and enterprises should take the initiative in inter-sectoral coordination to implement activities; pay close attention to widening the scope of implementation of OSH activities in district and commune levels, even in areas without of labor relations, in informal sectors of the economy, in agriculture and craft villages, thus creating a pervasive effect in the community. It is equally important to replicate best practice models on OSH; improve the effectiveness of supervision and inspection and strictly handle violations in OSH.

Mr. Ngo Duy Hieu - Vice President of Vietnam General Confederation of Labour; Mr. Le Tan Dung - Deputy Minister of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs - awarding certificates of merit to collectives and individuals. Photo: D.V. Source: Internet

Enterprises and manufacturing facilities need to increase investment to establish OSH management systems; ensuring self-inspection, review and assessment of OSH hazards and risks at the workplace; actively controlling and preventing harmful factors. Workers need to proactively equip themselves with knowledge and skills to identify risks and ensure safety at work to protect themselves as well as their colleagues and families.

At the ceremony, Director of ILO country office for Vietnam Mr. Chang Hee Lee pointed out that every year in the world, there were more than 374 million people injured or affected by workplace accidents. Occupational diseases is the "culprit" which causes the highest mortality rate, accounting for 86% deaths at work. On average, every day, 6,500 people die from occupational diseases. The number of working days lost due to OSH-related causes accounts for the loss of about 4% of the global GDP. In order to curb this, ILO encourages the application of international standards through the laws of each country, regulations relating to the identification and assessment of hazards and risks, ensuring safe and healthy working environment for workers.

2019 marks the 100th anniversary since ILO first connected labour activities in many countries around the world. Over the past 100 years, the ILO has been working hard for the benefits of workers, for their OSH. Most labour accidents and occupational diseases are preventable. The theme of this year's OSH Action Month affirmed Vietnam's commitment and determination in building OSH culture. It is also a prioritized policy of Vietnam to implement OSH.

Also in the Launching Ceremony, the organizing committee also arranged for dialogues about policies and laws on OSH; visited and gave gifts to the bereaved families of workers who lost their lives in labour accidents.