|Workers perch precariously on a construction site without any safety gear in Ha Noi's Cau Giay District. Experts said that new laws on labour safety are needed. — VNA/VNS Photo Huu Viet
HCM CITY (VNS) — New laws on labour safety in hazardous industries, including mineral exploitation and processing, chemical production and construction, are needed in Viet Nam, a workshop in HCM City was told yesterday.
Speaking at the two-day workshop that ends today, Dr Tran Mai, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Occupational Safety and Health Association, said the current legal framework was ineffective and should be amended.
Dr Nguyen Ngoc Nga, deputy chairwoman of the Viet Nam Association for Occupational Health, said there was no legal guidance on counselling, technical assistance or investment in labour accident-prevention for small- and medium-size enterprises in hazardous industries.
Detailed regulations on developing healthcare for employees should be issued, Nga said.
Nga said that specific regulations on labour safety and health in hazardous industries should be established based on the International Labour Organisation's conventions and recommendations.
Mai said the inspection systems should be improved. Currently there is a shortage of inspectors.
According to a report from the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour, the number of labour accidents in the fields of construction, mineral exploitation and chemical production accounted for 60 per cent of the total each year.
Mineral exploitation has developed in recent years, Mai said, adding that 2,378 enterprises employ nearly 2.1 per cent of the country's total workforce.
The working environment in this sector does not meet national standards, exceeding 2 to 45 times the criteria on dust, noise and poisonous gas, he said. Employees face a high risk of collapse or fire.
The number of mining accidents increased from 213 in 2005 to 252 in 2011.
Labour accidents in the construction field also rose in the past 11 years from 196 cases in 2000 to 502 in 2011.
Common occupational diseases in the field are deafness and lung diseases caused by silica dust.
In the last five years, 157 explosions at chemical facilities occurred in the country, killing 14 people.
Occupational diseases in the chemical field are the country's largest challenge. The number of occupational diseases accounted for 42 per cent of the country's total.
As of 2011, some 27,246 employees in the field had contracted an occupational disease. — VNS