The hunt for profit was the main driving force for labour accidents, Le The Son, Vice Chairman of the Viet Nam's OSH Science and Technology Association told Khoa hoc va Doi song newspaper
How do you evaluate the present draft Law on Occupational Safety and Health which was recently discussed by law makers?
First of all, I should say, the compiling of a Law on Occupational Safety is of great importance. It shows the Government's special concern over occupational safety and health for workers. Once it is approved, the law will become a legal and comprehensive instrument to protect the workers' safety and health.
The law will have a close relationship to the Law on Food Safety and the Law on Environmental Protection. These three laws will become effective and legal tools to implement the article on the people's right to live in a healthy environment as written in the 2013 Constitution.
Amendments were made to the draft law following consultations with scientists, managers, employers and employees and others. However, until now I still have some anxieties.
Will you please talk more specific about your anxieties?
The first thing come to my mind is the absence of responsibility by management boards in industrial parks and processing zones in the law.
Secondly, the draft law only mentions occupational safety and health for workers during work, but not employers' responsibility towards their workers' health after work. It is a fact that, workers working in a hazardous environment, their health will be seriously affected. In worse cases, some people will develop cancer or give birth to deformed children after a long time working in hazardous environment, for example.
How do you assess the current status of occupational safety and health in Viet Nam?
We already have some legal documents on labour safety and health and a management system to go along with these legal documents. Many production establishments and services, particularly joint venture enterprises have done quite well with occupational safety and health.
However, most seasonal or migrant workers have not received any training on labour safety. This is the leading cause for labour accidents. For example, if we look at recent labour accidents, the main factors were the workers' poor knowledge about labour safety.
In addition, blame should also be put on the poor management and negligence of functional government agencies.
Under the law, labour safety and health is compulsory in all working places. But in reality, it is not properly implemented by many employers.
That's why it's high time for Viet Nam to enact the Law on Occupational Safety and Health. The culture and professional ethics of management agencies and employers are poor and if we don't do something, we can not reduce the number of labour accidents.
Do you think when we have the law in place, it will come to life immediately?
As a matter of fact, whenever a law is enacted, it requires a number of guiding documents to be issued. But these guiding documents should be limited at the maximum. To achieve this goal, the law must be written clear and precise for easy implementation.
However, while waiting for the enactment of the law, we should tighten management work and promote communication activities on labour safety and health to both the employers and employees to help them know their rights and obligations.
What is the role and responsibility of your association when an accident occurs?
One of the functions of the Viet Nam's Occupational Safety and Health Science and Technology Association is to conduct research, give consultations and counter-arguments to further complete our policies and laws on safety. During the compilation of the draft law, we have contributed quite a lot comments and suggestions to the drafting committee in a hope to make it more comprehensive. — VNS