Race for safety

Thousands of garment workers to learn proper use of personal protective equipment

With one in every ten fatal accidents at work now linked to missing personal protective equipment, Better Work Vietnam’s annual “Safety Fun Run” aims to educate garment workers on measures to guard against workplace hazards.

Media advisory | 25 April 2014
HCM CITY (ILO News) – A safety fun run attracting more than 3,800 garment workers will take place in Binh Duong Province this Sunday, 27 April, to shed light on the use of personal protective equipment for work safety and health.

The annual run is organized by Better Work Vietnam – a partnership between the International Labour Organization and the International Finance Corporation to improve working conditions and raise the competitiveness of the country’s apparel and footwear industry.

As the fifth of its kind, the event provides an opportunity for workers, employers and government officials to mark the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on 28th April. It also hopes to educate workers on how to proactively protect their own safety and health in the workplace.

Every 15 seconds, 160 workers around the world will have a workplace accident, and one worker will die from a work-related accident or disease. Estimates put the economic cost of poor workplace safety and health standards at 4 percent of annual Gross Domestic Product globally.

According to the latest report by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), 627 workers died in work accidents last year in Viet Nam, up 4 percent from 2012. Serious injuries also rose 3 percent to 1,500.

The MoLISA report showed that 8 per cent of fatal accidents in 2013 was traced back to missing personal protective equipment.

“In many cases, accidents and diseases can be prevented by simple measures such as the use of personal protective equipment – for instance gloves or masks,” said Better Work Vietnam manager Nguyen Hong Ha.

Better Work Vietnam is working with more than 230 factories, accounting for a quarter of the country’s garment exporters, to improve working conditions and ensure the safety of their 270,000 workers.

“Of course, workers themselves are at the heart of these efforts,” Ms Ha said. “That’s why raising their awareness of safety and health and giving them practical help and guidance is important. We are glad to see the numbers of workers participating in this event rising each year.”

With 150 workers from Binh Duong-based Esquel Garment Manufacturing Vietnam Co. Ltd signing up for the race, the factory’s human resources manager Nguyen Thi Thu Trang said that it is a good opportunity for them to gain ideas about the use of personal protective equipment at work.

Aside from the 2km and 1.5km runs for male and female workers, participants will also take part in additional activities including an animated video screening, a safety-related quiz, and a personal protective equipment-related fashion show.