Nguyen Anh Tho, deputy director of the Department of Work Safety speaks to Voice of Viet Nam radio (VOV) on measures to reduce work accidents and the key factors leading to accidents.
On two consecutive days – November 18 and 19, two labour accidents were reported in the construction and mining sectors in Hai Phong city and Hoa Binh province. What are your comments on those accidents?
Many serious labour accidents have been reported recently. The first reason leading to those accidents was employers' violations of labour safety rules. For example, the mine collapse last week in Tan Lac district, Hoa Binh province. That mining area was granted an extraction license for 12 years. The license was recently renewed as the expiry date was approaching.
Many years of unsafe coal extraction activities have made the coal mine dangerous.
It is high time for all coal mining companies in Viet Nam to review their safety regulations.
Are the accidents evidence that there are weaknesses in work safety practice and the Law on Labour Safety and Hygiene in the country?
Training courses on labour safety have been quite successful. Investigation reports on recent accidents nation-wide have indicated that the main cause of accidents are violations in work performance and workers' negligence in observing labour safety.
However, in a market economy, many private service companies have been given licenses to run training courses in labour safety. The training some of these companies provide is insufficient. In addition, during labour recruitment, some companies train their newly recruited workers. That's one of the leading causes of labour accidents.
In Viet Nam, which agency is in charge of health and safety inspections?
Under our current law, central and local governments grant business licenses, including mineral extraction licenses. Labour agencies undertake checks on business operations. However, in the up-coming revision of the current Law on Labour Safety and Hygiene, there will be an article requiring a risk assessment report at the beginning of a project – a prerequisite for the project to go ahead. In other words, inspection and supervision must go hand in hand to ensure the law is fully implemented. — VNS