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Occupational hygiene in Vietnam: challenges and opportunities.

Waters MA; Meinhardt T; Mullan R; Nguyen M
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 9-15, 1998, Atlanta, Georgia. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 1998 May; :17-18
NIOSH representatives were hosted by the Vietnamese National Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health (VNIOEH) in the Ministry of Health to determine needs for the development of occupational hygiene in Vietnam. Occupational health organizations and workplaces visited included VNIOEH, Labour Protection Institute, provincial preventive medicine and occupational health centers, medical and public health schools, coal mine, tobacco factory, rubber plantation and manufacturing facility, farms, construction sites, and small business enterprises. The Vietnamese work as part of an informal economy in which the vast majority (approximately 90% of all workers} are engaged in agriculture. Only 10% of workers are employed in the formal economy, with the labor structure as follows: 29% agriculture/fishing/forestry, 24% mining/manufacturing, 14% trade/small business, 6% construction, 4% transportation, and 23% public administration. financial, and other services. As in many developing countries, the economy is disadvantaged and mostly rural and agricultural. Basic needs include improved sanitation and environmental health. Factors identified that influence the assessment and control of occupational hazards include the small scale of many work enterprises with the complications that typify small businesses, low capital investment in occupational health activities, and an insufficient number of occupational hygienists. Occupational hygienists are usually physicians with extra training, often with a focus on development of disease or clinical symptoms rather than on assessment of exposure. Factors that may affect the way exposure limits are applied include the use of child labor; genetic differences; long working hours; and economic, social and climatic factors. Child labor is particularly prevalent in agriculture, fishing, and small enterprises. Working hours are much longer in Vietnam than in industrialized countries, and workers often have several jobs. Additional needs and barriers for the development of occupational hygiene are identified.
Occupational-health-programs; Occupational-safety-programs; Racial-factors; Small-businesses; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Fishing-industry; Children; Work-intervals; Climatic-factors; Industrial-hygiene; Industrial-hygiene-programs; Industrial-hygienists; Sociological-factors; Physicians; Forestry; Mining-industry; Construction-industry; Transportation-industry
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 9-15, 1998, Atlanta, Georgia
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division