Monday, October 24 2016


Hundreds die in work accidents

Update: July, 31/2015 - 08:44
Workers at a construction site in Ha Noi. Labourers working in the building sector find it is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. — VNA/VNS Photo Huu Viet

HA NOI (VNS) — Construction and machinery installation jobs are the most dangerous in the country. Together they accounted for 30 per cent of work-related accidents nationwide, according to statistics from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA).

The figures were released at an on-line discussion session on Monday, hosted by Government portal to review occupational safety in thebuilding sector.

About 6,700 work-related accidents were reported last year in Viet Nam, with nearly 7,000 injuries of which 630 resulted in death.

Thirteen die

A number of construction-related accidents occurred in the first six months of this year, notably the March 25 scaffolding collapsed at Formosa-Ha Tinh steel-making complex in which 13 people died.

Earlier this month, another scaffolding collapsed at 17-floor building construction site in HCM City's District 7, killing two and injuring three.

Le Quang, deputy chief of State Agency for Construction Quality Inspectorate, explained the causes of work-related accidents in construction. He blamed the lack of attention paid to work safety procedures, low-quality scaffolding structures and outdated equipment.

He added that many labourers are not given proper safety training or safety equipment, explaining how many accidents happened because workers didn't know safety rules.

Ha Tat Thang, Director of MOLISA's Department of Work Safety, blamed the accidents on employers.

Inspections conducted by the department have shown that many employers hire subcontractors that are incompetent to do their jobs.

He felt that contractors were indifferent to occupational safety and tended to employ seasonal workers without bothering to properly train them.

Thang said MOLISA inspections this year found that 23 out of 49 firms didn't provide safety training, 2,500 labourers were employed without vocational training and 150 pieces of large equipment were operating without passing inspections. Those numbers are only 0.22 per cent of businesses. With just 100 inspectors, he said his agency could only manage so much.

When looking at prosecution rates, the story is just as dismal. Out of the yearly average of 600 work-related deaths, only about 2 per cent of them (12 cases) are prosecuted, Thang said.

When accidents happen, he explained, his department could only fine violators and request police investigations for serious accidents.

Nguyen Chi Thanh, managing director of Thanh Binh JSC, said workers should be aware, protecting themselves and pay attention to work safety rules.

To ensure labour safety in the construction sector, participants at the conference agreed that stricter punishments should be handed out for violations that lead to accidents.

Le Quang said more attention should be given to inspections that can increase investors' awareness of work safety issues. He also proposed a few recommendations for the construction ministry.

If accident inspections reveal that contractors or subcontractors lack the proper qualifications, their names should be posted on the Construction Ministry's website. They should also be banned from taking part in the next bidding round, he said.

Thang argued that only qualified workers should use difficult and advanced equipment and that equipment and machines must be inspected before putting them into operation.

Thang proposed that the construction ministry revoke licenses and request contractors to stop work if they continue to ignore construction site safety.

The new Law on Labour Safety, recently approved by National Assembly and set to go into effect July 2016, sets out new workplace safety regulations and requires that job-support be given to workers who are injured or develop occupational diseases. — VNS

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