Viet Nam News
Hà Tất Thắng, director general of the Department of Labour Safety, under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs talks to the Nhân Dân (The People) monthly edition on suggested solutions to prevent accidents in working places.
Do we have sufficient legal documents governing labour accidents in our country?
Việt Nam has many legal documents governing the issue of labour accidents in our country. For example, the Instruction No.629 issued in 2013 by the Party Secretariat has emphasised the importance of labour safety in the age of industrialisation, modernisation and international integration. Then in 2015 the National Assembly approved the Law on Labour Safety and Sanitation which came into effect on July 1, 2016. It was the first time Việt Nam had the Law on Labour Safety and Hygiene. Generally speaking, the law has basically addressed almost all social issues in the daily activities as well as in the course of international integration. What’s more important is that the 2016 Law on Labour Safety and Hygiene has included regulations for staff that were not covered in the past which account for around 34 million people.
The 2016 Law on Labour Safety and Hygiene has become one of our key referral documents to help government agencies, particularly the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs to issue dozens of legal documents to ensure the law is strictly implemented in real life.
What are the challenges Việt Nam is facing putting the labour safety law into practice?
Every year Việt Nam has almost 2 million people joining the labour force and some 100,000 new enterprises established. And of course, the rapid development of new technology has become a challenge for us in our management task, particularly in the area of labour accidents. It is a fact that in Việt Nam small and medium enterprises are the majority and most of them don’t pay much attention to labour safety and sanitation for their workers as those done by big enterprises.
Another point I want to mention is the big shortage of labour safety inspectors in our country. At present, Việt Nam has about 400 labour inspectors, of which fewer than 100 inspectors who are specialised in labour safety. Meanwhile, Việt Nam has more than 70,000 enterprises, excluding unregistered enterprises. As a result, each year, less than 2% of enterprises are inspected.
Finally the Government’s investment in labour safety is still very modest. Local governments have not allocated their annual budget for labour safety activities. In many enterprises, budget allocated for labour safety activities is very small, for labour protection gears for the workers and the equipment. A large amount of accidents are reported in the sectors of civil construction and mineral resources extraction.
What measures are the Department of Labour Safety adopting to reduce labour accidents?
What we need to do right now is to further complete our legal documents on labour safety and sanitation.
In the meantime, we are in the course of developing a circular on the list of heavy and hazardous jobs that require the enterprises owners to take actions to improve the labour safety for their workers.
We are now in the course of developing a Decree on the issue of insurance for free workers who are working in the field without labour contracts. We hope in future, all working people in either the field of formal or non-formal sectors will be covered by the Labour Insurance Law and other related laws.
Will you talk a little further about the role of labour safety inspectors in Việt Nam?
We have organised quite many training workshops for the labour safety inspectors to help them perform their tasks more efficiently and effectively. Of course, we have also provided them with good tools to help them perform their tasks. We understand we need to train more inspectors to do the inspection jobs. But in the meantime, we have also asked the enterprises to do the task of labour inspection by themselves. This is a good way for them to increase their labour productivities and save many people from labour accidents.
Enterprises should develop safety culture for their workers in their working shifts and strictly implement the safety rules._VNS