Safety and Health in Lao PDR Supply Chains – A Vision Zero Fund project

The Vision Zero Fund (VZF) project in Lao PDR aims to reduce the number of fatal and severe occupational accidents and diseases in the coffee and garment supply chains. In addition, it will support increased access to adequate compensation mechanisms to mitigate the losses suffered by victims and their families as a result of work-related accidents, injuries and diseases.

Coffee Harvest in Lao PDR
In pursuing its goals, the project will implement innovative intervention models that can effectively impact the number and nature of such accidents and diseases in the selected supply chains and support government, and workers’ and employers’ organizations, in strengthening their roles and responsibilities as OSH service providers. The project will support stakeholders in the coffee and garment sector in the formulation and implementation of strategies to eliminate or reduce occupational hazards at industry and workplace/farm household levels, help improve enforcement capacity and effective provision of OSH services and social security benefits. Furthermore, it will support the dissemination of lessons learned on OSH hazard and risk management and of good OSH practices to other supply chains in manufacturing and agriculture.

The VZF project in Lao PDR consists of two phases. The first phase (June – November 2018) is dedicated to selecting, assessing and building intervention models in a participatory fashion in two global value chains. The second phase (December 2018 – May 2020) will be devoted to the implementation of the intervention models that were designed in partnership with relevant stakeholders during Phase I.

The VZF approach to occupational safety and health in global supply chains is illustrated below:


The project is currently in Phase I, which focuses on selecting the supply chains to be targeted as well as conducting assessments in these supply chains to identify the actors, the issues and possible market-based solutions upon which the design of intervention models will be based. The assessments will map the market system and supporting functions, the issues that negatively affect workers’ safety and health, and the market-based opportunities that can promote positive and sustainable change on workers’ safety and health.

In Phase II, interventions will consist of a combination of measures (national, institutional and company/farm household levels; public and private sphere), to be carried out by one or more project partners. The project’s key partners include the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW), the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) and affiliated sector organisations, and the Lao Federation of Trade Unions (LFTU). To maximise its outreach and impact, other partners may be added, as relevant.

Possible interventions in the target supply chains include:

Coffee

  • Developing and strengthening the capacity of national partners and service providers on good OSH practices in agriculture and training facilitation skills;
  • Supporting trained partner institutions in disseminating good OSH practices to coffee plantations and small farm households;
  • Addressing the causes of identified OSH gaps at the level of supporting functions and services;
  • Developing the business case for OSH investment, particularly at the coffee farm household level.

Garments

Strengthening capacities of OSH service providers to identify OSH hazards and risks and advise garment companies on risk elimination and mitigation measures;
  • Supporting partners in the roll-out of OSH capacity building measures, with a focus on high-risk workplaces;
  • Promoting social dialogue on OSH through the establishment of effective OSH Committees.

Finally, in addition to the targeted interventions in the coffee and garment supply chains, the project will also pilot measures to reduce the risks associated with the use of hazardous agro-chemicals in agriculture more generally. During consultations with national stakeholders, lack of knowledge on the safe handling of agro-chemicals was raised as a key area of concern.