Better trainings can prevent occupational accidents and diseases

Opening speech by ILO Viet Nam Director Chang-Hee Lee at the launch of the National Month for Occupational Safety and Health on 18 May in Hanoi

Statement | 18 May 2017
Minister Dao Ngoc Dung

Chairman Bui Van Cuong

Vice Chairman Nguyen Van Suu

Leaders and representatives of MOLISA, other ministries, sectors and provinces, workers and employers’ organizations;

Honourable guests, dear friends and citizens of Viet Nam;

I am delighted to join you here at the Launching of the 1st National Month for Occupational Safety and Health (OSH). On behalf of the International Labour Organization, I am honoured to extend our congratulations to the Government of Viet Nam for your great efforts in the last years, from annual National OSH Weeks to this launching of the first National OSH Month.

As the ILO representative, I would like to emphasize that occupational safety and health is very important to us.

The ILO is an UN agency specialized in labour and employment issues. For almost one hundred years, the ILO has brought together governments, employers and workers representatives of 187 member States, including Viet Nam, to promote decent job opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues including occupational safety and health.

Ladies and gentlemen,

According to the latest ILO estimates, 2.3 million work-related deaths occur worldwide every year and Asia and the Pacific region accounts for 70 per cent of the global fatal occupational accidents. The risks are not that far way. They are surrounding every one of us. Every day, on the way to work, I pass by one big construction site, where workers risk their life without proper protective equipment in use. I am sure that all of you have seen the same thing many times. It is no surprise that construction industry in Viet Nam has the highest rate of work accidents and fatalities compared to other sectors.

To workers and their families, the suffering caused by such accidents and illnesses is beyond anyone’s imagination. Besides, we should not forget that workplace injuries and illnesses also have a major impact on employers’ business and their reputation, not to mention about well-being of citizens in Vietnamese society.

But I would like to remind you that almost all of these could be prevented. If that construction company invests a bit more on OSH management system and each worker follows safety guidance, that workplace would become much safer place to work.

To do that, workers and employers need to become better aware of the risks and how the risks can be minimized, through training.

With the theme of “Promoting OSH training to prevent occupational accidents and diseases”, the national OSH month reiterates the importance of training as clearly stated in the OSH Law of Viet Nam. OSH training is an effective way for employees to learn additional skills and knowledge which will result in safer workplace behaviour. Investing in effective OSH training not just helps to promote the culture of prevention and minimize risks of workplace accidents, but also contributes to better productivity.

As Minister Dao Ngoc Dung mentioned, prevention is our core principles. And together, we could improve the knowledge, skills and awareness of the workers, employers and the whole society towards our vision of zero workplace injuries and sicknesses.

The ILO highly appreciates the progress made by the Government of Viet Nam by adopting and implementing the OSH Law, marking a milestone by extending the protection to those in the informal economy. Thousands of specialized training courses every year are contributing to a safer and healthier Viet Nam. Viet Nam is also the only Member State in the South East Asia which ratified both ILO Convention on Occupational Safety and Health and Convention on Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health. They are two most important international labour standards in the field of OSH.

Distinguished guests,

We are honoured to work with the Government, workers and employers in Viet Nam to promote safer and healthier workplaces, from the joint development of the national profiles, to the training packages for small and medium enterprises, from the labour inspection campaigns to the survey on OSH behaviours of young workers. We have been promoting innovative, participatory and action-oriented approaches to protect workers and find low cost solutions to improve working conditions. We look forward to continuing our partnership to make all workplaces in Viet Nam safer and healthier.

I believe that today is just the beginning of our renewed efforts for better protection of workers’ health and safety, and also for social responsible business practices in Viet Nam.

I wish you all an effective and successful national OSH Month, and safer and more productive workplace for workers and employers.

Thank you!

Funding is provided by the United States Department of Labor under cooperative agreement number IL-26690-14-75-K-11. 100 percentage of the total costs of the project or program is financed with federal funds, for a total of 11,443,156 dollars. This material does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the United States Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the United States Government.