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Ministry to name, shame firms hiding workplace accidents

Update: March, 19/2012 - 09:51

Annual run highlights occupational safety

HCM CITY — More than 3,500 workers from garment factories in HCM City and neighbouring provinces will take part in an annual run next month to highlight the need for better safety at work.

Better Work Viet Nam, the organiser of "Safety Fun Run", said 85 per cent of the participants would be young women, almost all of them migrants from rural areas.

The run will be on April 22 to coincide with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) 's World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

Booths will be set up to provide information to workers about breast-feeding, HIV, life skills, literacy, basic finance, general health, and children's issues besides addiction counselling.

This year, for the first time, the organiser plans to invite local non-profit organisations. Representatives from Government, trade unions, employers and others will also be in attendance.

Better Work Viet Nam is part of the Better Work global programme, a partnership between the ILO and the International Finance Corporation. — VNS

HCM CITY — The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs has said it will make public the names of companies that do not report their workplace accidents.

Deputy Minister Bui Hong Linh said it was part of his ministry's effort to reduce the incidence of workplace accidents, which has been increasing at an alarming rate in recent years.

The number of people killed and injured in such accidents increased by more than 15 per cent last year. In almost 6,000 accidents, 574 people were killed and more than 1,310 were seriously injured.

They caused losses worth more than VND304 billion (US$14.5 million).

The actual number might be much higher if all companies reported workplace accidents, Linh told a conference held ahead of the National Week for Labour Safety and Explosion Prevention launched in Dong Nai Province yesterday.

Ministry of Health statistics show that at least 1,600 people die each year in workplace accidents, three times higher than the figure reported by the labour ministry.

Deaths caused by workplace accidents are particularly high in the manufacturing industry, mining, and construction.

The southern province of Dong Nai had the largest number of workplace accidents last year – 1,453, an increase of 277 cases from 2010.

Only four provinces did not have fatal accidents – Ha Giang and Nam Dinh in the north and Binh Phuoc and Bac Lieu in the south.

However, only 37 out of the nation's 63 provinces and cities and 4.4 per cent of businesses reported their workplace accidents.

MoLISA said of more than 500 fatal accidents, it had received investigation results on only 97 cases. In only two cases had the employers been prosecuted for violating labour safety regulations.

Lack of stringent action had been one of the reasons for employers' disregard of labour safety laws, the Labour Safety Department admitted.

Another reason was that the Government's labour safety inspectors were overwhelmed by the number of enterprises they had to oversee, a number that had been rising exponentially.

A mere 470 of them are expected to oversee around 350,000 enterprises, according to 2010 statistics from the labour ministry. — VNS

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