Low awareness leading to high potential of occupational accidents

The Action Month for Occupational Safety and Health 2024 is being launched nationwide to improve working conditions for laborers and control unwanted accidents at workplace.

The worker is working on a poorly installed scaffolding without any protective gears (Photo: SGGP)

On May 1, an occupational accident happened in Dong Nai Province, killing six people and severely injuring another five. Reports on this accident reveal that in the factory where it took place, there was a boiler with technical problems. While having these problems checked on that day, the boiler suddenly exploded.

Not a long time ago, at the end of April, another occupational accident happened in a cement manufacturing plant in Yen Bai Province, killing 7 machine maintenance technicians.

Obviously, ensuring labor safety in many factories and construction sites has not received much attention, showing carelessness in compliance with labor safety regulations in production.

In HCMC, for instance, it is not at all rare to spot people not observing these regulations in construction sites, especially for small-scale projects like private houses. They are not equipped with sufficient protective gears such as hard hats, safety straps, face masks.

In HCMC, there are now more than 220,000 businesses and 434,000 business households, hiring over 4.6 million laborers. Even though the number of occupational accidents last year did drop by 12.45 percent compared to 2022, 703 cases still happened. In the first four months of this year, 13 cases also took place and killed 13 people.

Deputy Director Luong Thi Toi of the HCMC Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs said that severe accidents usually occur on construction sites, followed by those in the fields of metal structure production, machinery repair and maintenance.

The main cause of these accidents is regulation violation, in that there are not sufficient protective gears or strict observance of safety measures at workplace, which is rather subjective. This stems from loose management and weak sanctions.

The mason is working on a poorly installed scaffolding without any protective gears (Photo: SGGP)

According to Tran Le Huynh, an engineer in a company specializing in construction projects, labor safety tasks are better done in enterprises with foreign investments than the domestically invested ones. He stressed that to ensure safety when repairing electric motors, there must be a person in guard at the power switch; when setting up a scaffolding, it is compulsory to install corresponding ladders; and when welding, there must be fire-proof material surrounding the area with fire-fighting equipment always available at hand.

To increase occupational safety, Deputy Director Toi informed that her department is going to adopt a number of key measures first to raise the awareness of laborers and businesses about this matter so that workers have suitable medical conditions and feel safe to perform their duty. Then the department plans to strengthen its control over training courses on labor safety and health, with clear focuses on practical skills for safe working in order to prevent occupational accidents as well as diseases.

In the upcoming time, the HCMC Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs is going to identify, evaluate, and monitor the risks of labor safety in different industries, particularly in the vulnerable group of working at height, welding and cutting metal, working in confined space, working at construction sites and mines, interacting with electric machines and pressured devices, getting close contact with chemicals or lifting equipment, using materials and devices with strict requirements on occupational safety and health.

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