Overview of seminar
On the morning of May 31, 2022, the Vietnam National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (VNNIOSH) in collaboration with the International Labor Organization (ILO) held a seminar on "The role of occupational safety and health in the the implementation of the socio-economic recovery program in the post-COVID-19 period".
The seminar was held both on-site and online with about 100 delegates who are representatives of ministries, departments, branches, research institutes, universities, provincal federations of labour, industry unions and businesses, corporations, organizations and associations attended the event and discussed the actual situation of OSH work, the situation of labor relations and the State's policies during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic is very complicated, unpredictable and long-lasting, seriously affecting all aspects of social life from health and life of all classes of people, workers to employees, production and business activities of enterprises. Against this situation, the Party, National Assembly and Government of Vietnam have issued many unprecedented guidelines and policies to both fight the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure safe production, socio-economic recovery and development in the new normal in order to realize "dual goals" with the top priority being to take care of and protect people's health and lives, and to make the best efforts to ensure production and business activities.
At the seminar, many delegates suggested that it is necessary to research, review, evaluate and forecast risk factors, current and future risks to the employment of workers in the post-COVID-19 pandemic. In which, it is mandatory to follows the recommendations, guidelines and toolkits of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) on OSH to research, apply and concretize in the conditions of Vietnam. At the same time, amend and supplement current OSH training programs, add new knowledge on identification and assessment of existing and future risks, proactive measures to prevent and respond to unexpected situations, etc.
One of the issues mentioned by the delegates was the mental and physical health of employees in the post-COVID-19 pandemic period. According to experts, the rate of people suffering from depression and anxiety disorders has increased by almost a third in more than 200 countries around the world. Mental health disorders increase the risk of other illnesses and suicide cases. The labor intensity is getting high due to the fierce competition leading to the possibility of increasing the risk of occupational accidents and diseases if the OSH work is not done well. According to, Ms. Ingrid Christensen, Director of the Country ILO Office for Vietnam, when it comes to occupational safety and health, people often think about physical health, but mental health today is emerged as a serious problem during COVID-19, not only for workers but also for other groups. Some people can handle it on their own, but others can not. Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to the mental health of employees.
Emphasizing on a safe working environment for trade union members and employees, Dr. Nguyen Anh Tho, Acting Director General of VNNIOSH stated that urgent safety issues of OSH and health care for workers need to be addressed in the 2021-2025 period, including preventing an increase in occupational accidents, especially serious accidents in construction, mining, chemical and petrochemical sectors; strengthening supervision of working environment pollution, gradually improving working conditions, taking care of and improving workers' health, building a culture of occupational safety and sanitation and also improving corporate social responsibility.
It is necessary to raise the awareness of employers and employees, especially in craft villages, agricultural areas and small and medium enterprises about ensuring OSH associated with the consciousness of environmental protection, public health, employment and sustainable development.
Studies and survey reports have clearly identified hazards and risks to production safety, fire safety, environment, occupational health, risk of COVID-19 infection, as well as biological factors or any other risk of causing accidents, incidents or diseases and also analyzed, provided measures and ways to manage risks to effectively prevent accidents, production incidents, explosion and environmental pollution.
From these studies and surveys, Dr. Nguyen Anh Tho stated that only by working in a safe environment, the employees can feel secure to work then improve labor productivity, and contribute to the stable development of the businesses and the sustainable development of the country.