Workers at the G.O.C. Food Processing Export Joint Stock Company in Bac Giang Province, northern Vietnam outfitted in protective suits. Photo courtesy of Lao Dong
Vietnam labor ministry has reported increases in labor accidents last year, which cost millions of dollars and thousands of working days.
Nearly 700,000 laborers were involved in 6,770 workplace accidents last year, up nearly 15 percent over 2011, the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs said at a recent meeting.
It said 606 people were killed, 5.6 percent more than the year before, with 1,400 others sustaining serious injuries, Saigon Tiep Thi (Saigon Marketing) newspaper reported.
The accidents cost VND93.6 billion (US$4.47 million) in property damage and compensation paid out to victims' families.
More accidents, many of them severe ones, occurred within the mechanical, construction and mineral excavation sectors.
Geographically, the most dangerous areas were industrial hot spots such as Hanoi, the coal province of Quang Ninh, Ho Chi Minh City, the nearby Binh Duong and Dong Nai Provinces, and Ha Tinh Province in the north-central region.
The ministry said many laborers are not sufficiently equipped with the tools or knowledge that might protect them.
It also said few businesses paid proper attention to occupational diseases associated with their industry, as only 5 percent submitted reports about their employees' status concerning common diseases like pneumoconiosis, a lung disease caused by the inhalation of dust especially at mines, and deafness due to loud noises.
Mai Duc Chinh, vice chairman of Vietnam Labor Union, said Vietnam needs to create a safer labor culture.
Chinh said local labor unions need to check the workplace safety in their areas on a regular basis and file reports about accidents that take place and whatever risk factors may be present.
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