Labour Safety Department director Ha Tat Thang spoke with Nong thon ngay nay (Countryside Today)newspaper about agriculture work hazards
What do you think about work safety in agricultural production now?
At present, people working in agriculture make up 70 per cent of Viet Nam's workforce. The agriculture sector includes a high number of manual labourers. According to an agriculture work accident report by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs last year, out of every 100,000 people working in the sector, 799 had electricity-related accidents and 856 had accidents relating to machines. The Government has approved national programmes and mobilised resources to curb the problem. However, dealing with work accidents in agriculture continues to be difficult.
Why is it difficult to collect data relating to work hazards in agriculture?
In other industries, enterprises are responsible for reporting violations. However, in agriculture, most labourers work for their households, so no one takes the responsibility of collecting such data. Moreover, many farmers are unaware they can get compensation if an accident happens to them reported and they report it for. When accidents happen, they usually blame them on carelessness or bad luck. Local authorities are only informed about accidents that are fatal or affect many people.
Will better statistics help reduce accidents and raise public awareness?
Many farmers think that work accidents are "not their business" and "can't happen to them." Thus, they don't pay proper attention to work safety. If we have enough data to analyse, we can get a general overview of the situation, which can help people learn more about workplace hazards. In addition, relevant agencies can use the figures to improve work safety awareness.
What are some other ways to improve work safety in agriculture?
The best way to improve agricultural work safety is to boost programmes for building new rural areas. Thanks to that foundation, management bodies in co-operatives and trade villages will be able to control and implement work safety activities. We are also thinking about setting up a fund that offers compensation to accident victims. First, when they report their accidents, they will be given healthcare and financial aid. Secondly, healthcare centres at the grassroots level will collect data of reported accidents. It is expected that victims will then take greater initiative to report cases. — VNS