Nguyen Anh Tho, deputy director of the Department of Work Safety under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, spoke to Nong thon Ngay nay (Countryside Today) about farm labour safety.
Can you explain current labour safety practices in our agriculture and traditional handicraft sectors?
According to statistics from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Viet Nam has more than 54 million people of a working age, of which about 15 million people have signed labour contracts with their employers and participated in the social security system, including healthcare. That means the remaining 39 million people are working without any kind of labour contracts. As a result, if any mishaps occur during their work, they have to pay for their own treatment
Among the 39 million people, about 20 million people work in traditional handicraft, agriculture or fishing villages, while 10 million others are freelance labourers.
I have to concede that these people are not aware of labour safety and hygiene in the workplace.
Does the Department of Safety and Hygiene have any plans to promote safety and hygiene in the work place, particularly in the run up to Tet (Lunar New Year)?
In less than two months time, our people will celebrate our traditional Lunar New Year Festival. Commodity demand during this occasion will increase rapidly, so there is usually an increase in workplace accidents. A very effective measure to prevent accidents from happening is to raise safety awareness among workers, while the Department of Safety and Hygiene will conduct more inspections to ensure labour safety is adhered to during Tet.
Our department has adopted a plan to organise training workshops for journalists so they can spread the message of labour safety and hygiene in the work place.
We also plan to raise awareness on the same issue with employers.
Can you elaborate on how labour safety and hygiene programmes will be implemented in the agricultural sector and rural areas?
The first thing we have to do is to organise labour safety training workshops for people working in the fields of agriculture and traditional craft villages. These parties have already attended training workshops sponsored by projects either funded by the national budget or international organisations. Through these projects, new models have been developed and have proven to be a success.
I'm confident that when the new Law on Occupational Safety and Hygiene comes into effect on July 1, 2016, labour safety training activities will increase thanks to funding from the State budget. — VNS