Measures discussed to promote occupational safety for young workers

16:29 | 23/04/2018 Society

Experts gathered at an international forum held in Hanoi on April 16 to discuss measures to promote occupational safety and health (OSH) for young workers in Vietnam.

Secondary level students will be soon offered a safe work skills course as part of their education

The event was co-organized by the Department of Work Safety (DWS) under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and the International Labor Organization (ILO) under the theme of “A generation of safe and healthy workers”.

According to ILO statistics released at the event, about 350,000 people die each year from occupational accidents and about 2 million die from work related illnesses. In addition, more than 313 million workers have suffered severe injuries and lost their ability to work due to occupational accidents.

Currently, the world has 541 million young workers (aged 15-24), including 37 million child laborers. Child labor represents more than 15 percent of the workforce around the world and young laborers face a higher risk of occupational injuries and work related illnesses than those over 25 years of age. In Vietnam last year, 9,143 victims suffered from 8,856 occupational accidents nationwide.

As a country with a large number of young laborers, Vietnam has issued a range of policies and regulations aimed at ensuring OSH for young workers, but there are still many difficulties and limitations in preventing and reducing occupational accidents, said Head of the DWS, Ha Tat Thang.

Experts at the forum discuss measures to promote occupational safety and health for young workers in Vietnam

He identified factors that could make young Vietnamese workers vulnerable. For example, young workers are in their physical and psychological development stage, with a lack of work experience and training, as well as with limited awareness of work-related hazards and negotiation skills. However, young employees still accept dangerous tasks or unsafe working conditions to earn their living.

Thang said that there is currently a need to raise awareness among young workers, especially those working in the agricultural sector, to help them better understand the basic concepts of OSH, in addition to the use of safety equipment. He added that when providing training and information for young workers there should be a focus on the negative consequences of occupational incidents as well as on the requirements for better OSH.

Valentine Offenloch, Program Officer from the ILO’s Safe Youth Work Project, proposed that Government and State management agencies integrate OSH into educational programs at all levels to promote the rights and obligations of workers and employers. She also suggested promoting skills development for identifying, removing, and controlling hazards and risks for young workers in Vietnam.

Deputy Head of the DWS, Nguyen Anh Tho, said that for many years, the Government has allocated a budget to develop training programmes on OSH for students at vocational training centers and colleges. The programs will be soon offered at secondary and lower education levels to equip learners with safe work skills, she added.

Experts at the forum exchanged lessons aimed at promoting a campaign for tackling challenges, raising awareness, and improving working conditions to ensure OSH for Vietnamese young workers.

Theo NDO