Denmark-funded project yields spillover effects upon occupational safety work

VOV.VN - A Denmark-financed occupational safety and health (OSH) training project participated by Vietnamese representatives has spread fruitful outcomes and spillover effects to the OSH work in Vietnam.

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Vu Thanh Huyen from the MOLISA Department for Work Safety.

Efforts bear fruit

These days, Vu Thanh Huyen from the Department for Work Safety under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), is gearing up her efforts in compiling contents and agendas for next OSH workshops following the first of its kind had been organized successfully at Ho Chi Minh City Vocational College last year.

Huyen was one of the six participants selected to join a OSH course held at Aalborg University Copenhagen as part of the “Understanding Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) – Mechanisms, Assessment and Preventive Actions” project funded by the Danish Government.

Lasting for six consecutive weeks, the course attracted 24 representatives specializing at the field of OSH from Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

The participants, every week, focused their attention on studying major OSH topics in Denmark, notably relevant policies and regulations, the OSH inspection of Danish authorities, and the use of chemicals for waste-water disposal. Every Friday, they made a fact-finding tour of Danish companies whose operations closely adhere to the weekly topics.

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Huyen (third row, third from left) and other participants of the Denmark-funded OSH course take a souvenir picture in Denmark.

How Danish firms operate and ensure the OSH work as well as set forth work priority and arrangements were among the most worthy learned things, Huyen told VOV Online.

It came as a big surprise that Denmark’s industrial production is so much automated as few workers are required for the automated production of Danish manufacturers. Instead they make full use of robots to handle most steps in the manufacturing process, Huyen stressed.

Huyen, who is an occupational safety trainer in Vietnam, noted that the Danish government, enterprises, and workers reported extremely high awareness of the OSH work as great attention is paid to subcutaneous sweat, work stress, winter dry skin, and others.

In fact, the OSH is a very extensive issue that now attaches more importance to both occupational diseases and work safety. Hence, the OSH work now covers a string of fields.

Though the course lasted only six weeks, the participants proactively learned the Danish government and companies’ tactics which were expected to work on the OSH work of their homeland.

Strict occupational safety regulations used to make learners feel a bit sleepy and even bored, but Danish lecturers inspired the participants by combining the topics and curriculum with pragmatic yet ebullient activities, Huyen said, stressing the Danish lecturers’ efforts as significant contributions to fruitful outcomes of the training course.

In fact, how to assure the OSH work to be implemented effectively remains a big issue in Vietnam, especially in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), she noted.

She explained that just few big firms have set up departments and divisions dedicated to OSH guarantee and guidance, while a vast majority of SMEs do not have such OSH entities.

Even many SMEs assign staff taking over both OSH missions and their work assignments like administrative affairs and accounting. Thus, the OSH awareness of such staff remains rather limited, she asserted.

Recent reports by the MOLISA Department for Work Safety show that the number of occupational accidents has fallen in the past two years, showing a positive sign of the effective implementation of the Law on Occupational Safety and Health (Law No. 84/2015/QH13).

In a bid to raise the OSH awareness of students as future workers in enterprises, last year Huyen and her Vietnamese fellows from the Danish course jointly organized an OSH workshop at Ho Chi Minh City Vocational College (HVC).

Nearly 100 HVC students majoring in food processing attended the workshop and enjoyed a chance to update current regulations and common measures on implementing the OSH work, thereby helping them improve their awareness and prevent the risk of labor incidents.

The most noteworthy thing is that Huyen and her fellows took full advantage of what they learnt from the Danish course in delivering OSH contents to the workshop participants, especially the combination of practical activities with the OSH work the students could implement for a future job.

Extensive OSH support

Morten Pristed, Counsellor for Education and Health at the Embassy of Denmark in Vietnam, said to VOV Online that he had taken some chances to visit many companies and vocational education facilities in Vietnam while seeing in his own eyes how they get young people integrated into the workforce.

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"In 2019, we provide the Vietnamese side with two other courses as a continuous part of the OSH project," says Morten Pristed, Counsellor for Education and Health at the Embassy of Denmark. 

He went on to say that many OSH-related issues emerged from the workplaces he made fact-finding tours of, noting that working conditions in the local wood processing sector potentially reveal a high risk of labor insecurity and incidents.

“That’s why we are eager to invite representatives from the MOLISA, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), and other organizations in Vietnam to join the OSH course held in Copenhagen last year. I was very please to learn that they brought back interesting and useful experience and apply it into their OSH work.”

The OSH project put a major focus on enabling young people, especially students to make sense of how important the OSH work is and how it could have impacts in the companies where the students would work.

Another purpose is to usher cooperation between vocational colleges and the companies where young people have internship in ensuring the OSH training, Pristed said.

However, a large number of local companies have been operating on a small scale, thus posing many difficulties in executing the OSH work, especially those in terms of costs and the inspection and compliance of OSH regulations.

Therefore, the Danish side sought to offer the OSH project to the Vietnamese side in order to raise public awareness about the OSH work and integrate a little bit approach to local vocational colleges that are the partners of the Danish side.

“In 2019, we provide the Vietnamese side with two other courses as a continuous part of the OSH project. In particular, the first course, slated for June, is a special ten-day course themed OHS management. This course is projected to help managers and leaders realize how to implement changes in their current OSH work, what should be changed, how to get organizations and entities to join the OSH work rather than only issuing laws and legal regulations.”

Meanwhile, the second one (in September), which is set to be the same as the previous one, would last for six weeks and cover a quite detailed and intensive curriculum.

“We this year have selected six Vietnamese participants for each course, or a combined 12 people for both courses.”

He elaborated that the two courses, through the OSH activities and events to be hosted by Vietnamese representatives after their participation, are aimed to indirectly ensuring a higher degree of compliance of the three stakeholders (including leaders and managers, enterprises, and workers) to relevant laws and regulations.

This year’s courses look to further boost cooperation between vocational education facilities and enterprises in assuring the OSH training for their students or future workers.

Pristed voiced his belief that further cooperation between the two sides is much needed as conditions in industrial production are ever-changing. Meanwhile, young people and graduates must always adapt to new changes in the industries which they go to work for.

In an extensive approach, the Danish side inclines towards building and enhancing training cooperation between local authorities, vocational education facilities, and enterprises, in order to make the OSH training be pragmatic and meet ever-changing requirements in various industries, he unveiled.

Hong Quang

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