Japan funds work safety program

The Japanese Government will donate US$720,000 to promote occupational safety and health in Vietnam through the effective implementation of policy framework in hazardous industries such as construction, mining and chemicals.

The project, entitled Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in Hazardous Work, will work in conjunction with the National OSH programme and address asbestos and other chemicals in hazardous industries in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO)

Vietnam is now implementing the Second National OSH Programme (2012 – 2015) after the successful complement of the first OSH programme (2006 – 2010) to promote OSH as a priority of enterprises and address concerns about the safety and health of workers. However, under the rapid economic development in recent years, the country is now facing increasing occupational accidents and ailments.

Five hundred deaths

Statistics from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) show that in 2011, there were about 6,000 cases of occupational accidents, in which 504 fatal cases left 574 dead and 1,314 seriously injured.

These figures increased 16 percent compared to 2010. Construction, mining and chemicals are the three of the most hazardous industries with high occupational injury rates and potential for causing major industrial accidents. Construction and mining accidents accounted for 36 percent and 20 percent of total work – related accidents respectively from 2005 – 2009.

Besides accident risks, workers in construction sites, mines and chemical workplaces are often exposed to high levels of dust and hazardous chemicals, and face the risk of occupational lung diseases including lung cancer.

The project is expected to provide capacity building on prevention of occupational accidents and diseases, chemical safety, as well as to protect workers in vulnerable groups through the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s participatory tools and the improvement of reporting systems in conjunction with the development of the National Insurance system.

The beneficiaries include OSH practitioners, workers and employers. In particular, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and rural workplaces in the five provinces and cities of Bac Kan and Hai Phong (in the north), Ha Tinh and Quang Ngai (in the center), and Dong Nai (in the south).

The project’s main government partner is the Bureau for Safe Work, MOLISA, but other stakeholders, ministries, provincial organizations, and social partners will also play a critical role in its success.

The project is a part of ILO/Japan Multi – bilateral Cooperation Programme and component of a regional project on “Occupational safety and health in hazardous work in Southeast Asia”. It will accelerate cooperation among ASEAN countries on OSH related issues and promote the One – UN Policy in Vietnam.

VNS/VOV online