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Small employers try to cover up workplace accidents

Update: February, 22/2012 - 10:26


Builders work at heights without personal protective equipment at a construction site in Ha Noi. — VNS Photo Doan Tung
HA NOI — Enterprises, particularly small- and medium-sized businesses, have been trying to conceal the real number of work accidents, making it difficult to collect exact statistics, said Bui Hong Linh, Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, at a labour safety conference yesterday.

According to the ministry, only 4.4 per cent of the enterprises in which work accidents occurred reported the cases last year.

Within 2011, there were nearly 5,900 work accidents reported, leaving more than 1,300 people seriously injured and 574 deaths.

The accidents reportedly cost nearly VND300 billion (US$14.28 million) in medicine costs, treatment, funeral procedures and compensation, while causing property damage totalling VND5.85 billion ($280,000).

Ha Noi, HCM City, Quang Ninh Province, Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces are among the areas with the largest number of work accidents.

The ministry said there was an increase in the number of occupational accidents and victims last year compared to 2010, and the number of fatal accidents decreased by 9 per cent.

The mining and construction sectors rated as the most dangerous fields and most accidents were attributed to a lack of employer and employee awareness of safety, a lack of safety measures and unsafe equipment or a lack of protective equipment.

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs also revealed there was a total of 1,764 fires last year, causing 75 deaths, leaving 215 injured and causing property damage worth nearly VND600 billion ($28.57 million) and the loss of 2,000ha of forests. The number of fires decreased by 16 per cent, but the amount of injuries and deaths increased by 20 per cent compared to 2010.

Between March 18 and 24, the 14th national week for labour safety and hygiene and the prevention of explosions and fires will take place, calling for wider awareness and efforts of both employers and workers to prevent work accidents and fires.

A televised opening ceremony will be held in the southern province of Dong Nai on March 18 to start the week, and authorities will conduct inspections on 100 enterprises in the province until the end of May.

Similar activities will also be organised in other areas across the country. — VNS

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