Sloganed “Labour law compliance for safe construction sites”, this year’s campaign aimed to promote better compliance of labour standards and regulations to fix the widespread violations in the construction sector and consequently improve working conditions of workers.
With the support of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Dutch Government, the campaign was organized by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) in co-operation with the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour and Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
According to MoLISA’s occupational safety report for 2015, among the reported fatal occupational accidents, construction topped the list of sectors with the biggest number of cases and death tolls. This industry accounted for 38 per cent of all victims who lost their lives at work and 35 per cent of the reported fatal occupational accidents, against 8 per cent and 7 per cent respectively of the second sector in the list – mechanical manufacturing.
Out of the six most deadly occupational accidents in 2015, four occurred at construction sites.
Meanwhile, many other work-related accidents, injuries and illnesses in this sector may have gone unreported.
“Apart from the responsibilities of both employers and workers, this situation is also traced back to limited dissemination of labour laws and ineffective involvement of the authorities,” said MoLISA Vice Minister Pham Minh Huan at the launch.
According to the Vice Minister, the labour inspection campaign offered a new approach which requires the participation of the whole society, including labour inspectors, trade unions, employers’ organizations and the mass media.
The campaign will focus on improving the awareness of employers, workers and the public on labour laws and occupational safety standards for construction, and boost the inspection visits to at least 630 construction enterprises and construction sites across Viet Nam from March to November 2016.
Targeted compliance areas will include working and rest time; wages; internal occupational safety and health regulations and trainings; personal protective equipment; arrangement of construction site’s working grounds; use of vehicles, machines, scaffoldings, shelves, electricity and electrical appliances; concrete formworks, steel and concrete; welding; and finishing work.
Affirming the strong need to take effective actions to address and prevent human costs in construction sector, ILO Viet Nam Director Chang-Hee Lee said: “As elsewhere in the world, the responsibility for protecting the health and safety of workers ultimately rests with employers. With this in mind, the labour inspectorate also has an advisory role to help employers, together with workers, better understand their rights and obligations under the law and to provide advice on the best ways to comply.”
According to Dr Lee, the campaign is an opportunity for the labour inspectorate in Viet Nam to strengthen this advisory role, in collaboration with employers and workers’ representatives, towards achieving workplace compliance and decent working conditions for women and men at construction sites.
Construction is a major job generating source in Viet Nam. The Government estimates from 2014 indicated that more than 3.3 million workers earned a living in this sector.
The 2016 labour inspection campaign is the second of its kind for the Labour Inspectorate with the first campaign in 2015 targeting garment sector.