Results achieved from implemeting the Law on OSH 2015 and some proposals for amendments and supplements

The making and promulgation of the Law on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) 2015 is extremely important, particularly in the period of industrilization, modernization and international integration of Vietnam. After more than 5 years of implementation, the Law on OSH has achieved many remarkable results. However, in the process of implementation, the Law on OSH also has certain shortcomings. In addition, in the context of Vietnam‘s adaptation to the Industry 4.0 and the process of deep integration with the world economy, the Law on OSH also need to be timely revised and appropriately supplemented.

1. Results achieved from implementing the Law on OSH

1.1. The making and promulgation of legal documents under law

In order to immediately put the law into life as well as realize the meaning and importance of OSH work in social and economic development and carry out the sustainable development strategy, on September 15, 2015, the Prime Minister had promulgated Decision No. 1605/QD-TTg on promulgating the list and assigning agencies to be in charged of drafting documents of the Government and Prime Minister to specify details and guidelines of the implementation of the Law on OSH. Therefore, right after the Law on OSH ratified by the National Assembly in 2015, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), Ministry of Health together with other ministries had reviewed, gathered statistics and proposed a list of legal documents under law. From 2015 to 2021, 106 documents have been adjusted and other 23 documents related to OSH have been made and promulgated.

1.2. Propaganda and dissemination of the Law on OSH

Based on the regulation of the Law on OSH and other related legal documents, every year the relevant ministries, sectors, organizations represent to employers and employees have to promote the Law of OSH. The period 2016-2021, the number of people provided training courses by OSH training organizations is around 1.2 to 2.1 million people per year. In addition, enterprises and organizations also organize training for 2-5 million people per year.

After the Law on OSH was promulgated, the activities of the National Council and Provicial Council on OSH were promoted. The organization and maintenance of the annual dialogue of the National Council and Provicial Council on OSH help to share information and enhance understanding between employers and employees, representative organizations, government agencies have contributed to promoting legal knowleadge and improving working conditions. Dialogue sessions of provincal council have been carried out across the country (63/63 provices and cities), gradually put into order which has also contributed to timely solving problems of business’ communities and employees.

In addition, the propaganda and dissemination of the Law on OSH in particular and OSH work in general are implemented through many information channels such as national OSH information network connected to the OSH network of the ASEAN (ASEAN-OSHNET), website, press, central and local television, contests from enterprise level, provincal level to national level to learn about Laws and knowledge on OSH, working condition improvement, the contests for good OSH trainer and good OSH activist, etc.

1.3. Situation of occupational accidents, occupational diseases and the compliance of regulations on OSH

Since the Law on OSH took effect to now (July 1, 2016), the situation of occupational accidents across the country has changed in a positive direction. According to the reports of MOLISA, the period of 2016-2021, there were 47.261 occupational accidents nationwide causing 48.500 victims of which 5.089 cases of fatal occupational accidents caused 5.376 deaths, the frequency of fatal occupational accidents was reduced 24.2% in comparison to the period of 2011-2015. The period 2016-2020, there were 1.359.829 employees examined for occupational diseases, each year around 200.000 – 300.000 employees were examined for detecting occupational diseases and there were 3.00 to 5.000 cases of occupational diseases were detected (accounted for about 1%), higher than the period 2011-2015. Thereby, it is shown that work of health care, examination and detection of occupational diseases for employees has been paid more and more attention.

About the execution and compliance of busineses, enterprises have been followed to better way. Regulations on OSH training and monitoring, PPE, fostering health in kind, developing regulations, processes, OSH plans, operation processes, accreditation, repairation, maintenance of machinery and equipment, etc., have been implemented in accordance with the Law. Moreover, many enterprises have applied international management standards to the management of OSH at their enterprises such as ISO 14000, SA 8000, OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001, etc.

In general, after the Law on OSH took effect, activities related to OSH have been paid more attention and better implemented such as the implementation of measures to prevent dangerous and harmful factors; worker’s health care regime; managing machinery, equipment, materials and subtances subject to strict OSH requirement; handling incidents, occupational accidents and occupational diseases; occupational accident and occupational disease insurance; the assurance of OSH for enterprises and businesses; State management on OSH; make statistics, reports, develop database, national program on OSH.

2. Some proposals for amendments and supplements

In the coming time, the world economy is forecasted to slow down, after the COVID-19 pandemic many working models has appeared (such as working from home). At the same time, the Industry 4.0 has rapid and profound impact on all aspects of the economy, especially great changes in industry and production, turning the digial economy into the growth trend of the times. Vietnam is not out of the common trend, particularly the deep integration with the world through new generation free trade agreements, international standards on OSH will be incresingly concerned and applied.

Besides, in the process of implementing the Law on OSH, there have been shortcomings such as some provisions of the Law on OSH and guiding documents have not kept up with the development the market economy and the development of the society, it is not feasible to put into practice and get problems in implementation. Therefore, in order to meet the integration and development process of Vietnam as well as overcome shortcomings in implementation process, the amendment and supplementation of the Law on OSH should focus on the following points:

- Adjust the Law on OSH in line with the policy of international economic integration, industrial development policy, trade policy including forecasting and internalizing conventions related to OSH that will be ratified by Vietnam.

- Ensure the consistency and synchronization with legal system in general. From the reality showed that there have appeared some provisions of the Law on OSH that are overlapping and inconsistent with other laws such as Labout Code 2019, Penal Code 2015, Investment Law 2015 and specialized laws such as Law amending and supplimenting a number of articles of Construction Law 2020, Law on Electricity, Law on Chemicals 2007, etc.

- Currently, regulations on safety culture in the Law on OSH are quite vague, while this is a global trend and was recommended by the ILO at the International Labour Conference 2003. Hence, it is necessary to regulate more clearly, more specifically the content of safety culture in the Law on OSH.

- Overcome the shortcomings when implementing the Law on OSH as mentioned above such as studying, amending and supplementing regulations to keep up with the development of the market economy and the development of the society; remove probplems related to voluntary occupational accidents and occupational diseases insurance, OSH work in areas without labour relations, etc.

Nguyen Thu Hang, Ph.D.

Department of Industrial Relations and Wage, MOLISA

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