New programme to improve workplace safety in four provinces

A new programme to improve working conditions and occupational safety and health (OSH) was launched in four provinces in Viet Nam, in Thai Nguyen, Thanh Hoa, Thua Thien - Hue and Dong Nai.

Press release | 23 February 2009

(ILO Viet Nam) A new programme to improve working conditions and occupational safety and health (OSH) is being launched in four provinces in Viet Nam, in Thai Nguyen, Thanh Hoa, Thua Thien - Hue and Dong Nai.

The three year programme, from 2009 to 2011, funded by the Government of Japan within the One UN Plan for Vietnam, is a joint cooperation between the International Labour Organization (ILO), Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), World Health Organization (WHO) and Ministry of Health (MoH).

The programme has two projects: The Effective Implementation of National OSH Programme for Improving Safety and Health at the Workplace in Vietnam (run by MoLISA with technical support from the ILO) and Workers’ Health Protection (run by MoH with technical support from the WHO.)

"The aim of the programme is to train OSH officials, inspectors and practitioners on simple and practical work safety methods developed by the ILO: Work Improvement for Neighbourhood Development (WIND), Work Improvement in Small Enterprises (WISE) and Work Improvement for Safe Home (WISH). Those officials will in turn conduct trainings for employers and workers in the four targeted provinces," said Rie Vejs-Kjeldgaard, Director of the ILO Office in Viet Nam.

According to MoLISA’s Bureau for Safe Work, more than 1.33 million workers and employers were trained on occupational safety and health in 2008, a 156 per cent increase from 2007. However, the numbers of reported accidents and deaths are still on the rise. A recent report by MoH found that only 18-20 per cent of high-health-risk enterprises are monitored on occupational environment. Only 22-25 per cent of the workforce has access to regular health checks and fewer than 10 per cent of workers in high risk work environments have access to occupational health checks.

The Occupational Safety and Health programme will develop and apply the standard basic occupational health services in the four provinces. It will enhance awareness on work safety and the capacity of occupational health services. It will also focus on disease prevention and heighten awareness of asbestos-related occupational risks.

“The challenge is lack of awareness and insufficient training for both employees and employers, as well as limited enforcement of laws. There is an urgent need to improve the capacity of health officials at the provincial level, both in terms of quality and quantity. Hence, the top priority for Vietnam is capacity building and the improvement and consolidation of occupational health services at different levels, in compliance with the ILO's Convention 161," said Dr Tran Thi Ngoc Lan, Vice Director General of Vietnam Administration of Preventive Medicine, MoH.

The Occupational Safety and Health programme aims to implement the National Programme on Labour Protection, Occupational Safety and Occupational Health and to develop the Second National OSH Programme from 2011 to 2015 with a view of strengthening safe and healthy workplaces and communities. It will ensure productive workplace environments in small and medium-sized enterprises and contribute to poverty reduction in the community. Model OSH protection systems in informal economy and rural workplaces will be built up in target provinces, to strengthen OSH mechanisms at enterprise level and address emerging OSH risks.

"This programme will support Viet Nam in developing its national policies, especially the National Profile and Programme for OSH and a recently proposed OSH Law," said Ms Doan Minh Hoa, Director General of MOLISA's Bureau for Safe Work.

During the implementation period the programme is expected to expand to other provinces. The achievements and experiences will also be shared with other countries through the framework of ASEAN OSH-Net.

For further information please contact:

Ms Le Thi Huong Lien
Communication Focal Point
ILO Office in Vietnam
Tel: 37340902 ext 206