A look back at workplace Safety throughout the century and HSE regulatory development in US
It’s hard to imagine a time when workers casually ate their lunches as they sat upon the steel beams of a skyscraper without any safety net or fall protection system in place. Compared to today’s standards, the early 1900s were a drastically different time in terms of safety. And we often forget how much our safety regulations and safety management have improved since then.
- In 1913, The National Safety Council was founded and immediately began improving issues in safety, particularly traffic and industrial safety.
- In 1915, the U.S. Labor Department issued its first compilation of regulations.
- In 1935, the National Labor Relations Act
- In 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act was established minimum wage and overtime pay.
- In 1971, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established.
- From 1980 up to now, health and safety in the workplace have seen significant improvement over the last centuries thanks to individual workers, employers, unions, government agencies, and scientists. Every single day, OSHA fines businesses that are not adhering to their regulations. For both employer and employee to benefit, it is critical that we choose to make safety a priority 
Look at HSE regulatory development in Vietnam
- In 1995, the Labor Code came into effect.
- In 2015, the Law on Occupational Safety and Health was approved by the 13th National Assembly, on June 25, 2015 (officially effective from July 1, 2016).
- In the 60’s of the 20th century until before the Law on Standards (TC) and Regulations (QC) promulgated (June 2006), Vietnam had nearly 500 national standards (TCVN) in the field of Safety – hygiene – health were issued, of which there are 74 TCVN in the field of PPE alone.
- Since 2003, the Occupational Safety Inspector, the Occupational Hygiene Inspector (OSH) and the Labor Policy Inspector were merged into the Labor Inspector under the MoLISA (Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs)
- On July 10, 2008, the MoLISA coordinated with the Ministry of Home Affairs to develop and issue the Joint Circular No. 10/2008/TTLT-BLDTBXH-BNV, which stipulates the establishment of the state management department and the organization. Competence and authority on occupational safety in localities (province/district/commune).
- The Government and its agencies have been promulgating Decrees, Circulars & Decisions detailing guidelines for the implementation OSH Law. At the same time, ministries and localities have also developed and updated many OSH related documents 
Legal HSE requirements in Vietnam
The Law No. 84/2015/QH13 on OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HYGIENE (OS&H) deals with occupational hygiene and safety assurance; policies and benefits for victims of occupational accidents and occupational diseases; rights and obligations of organizations or individuals relating to occupational hygiene and safety and the roles of regulatory agencies in occupational hygiene and safety 
Together with the OS&H law, other laws i.e. law 55/2014/QH13 on ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION (to be replaced by law 72/2020/QH14 from 1st Jan 2022), law 06/2007/QH12 on CHEMICALS, law 27/2001/QH10 on FIRE PREVENTION AND FIGHTING, etc. are in place. There are many Decrees from Prime Minister, Circulars from Ministries, decisions from different authorities to guide the execution of OS&H (or EHS) in all industries and to ensure the protection of the environment, create safe workplaces and healthy for people and communities also available.
Many inspections, audits by functions from authorities are carrying out and many penalties have been applied to those who are non-compliance with those above regulations.
The establishment of the HSE Management System in all sectors and national activities is considered an important factor in managing and meeting the health, safety, environmental and sustainability requirements. To date, HSE management system has been recognized as a vital one in any workplace as its implementation concerns economics, sustainable development, community and the environment. The important role of the HSE management system is to eliminate or reduce risks, anomalies, accidents, incidents and their consequences 
Perceptions and Common practices in different industries
There are some companies in O&G, Steel/metal processing, Semi-conductor, etc. possess good HSE MS, they are mainly FDI from developed countries, JV and also few Vietnamese owned and got good HSE performance recorded. However, many companies (if we don’t want to quote “majority”) in different industries are still struggling with HSE MS establishment and execution in their daily operations.
The common practices and issues/challenges in different industries are summarized in Table 1.
Table 1 Common practices and challenges in execution of an HSE MS in Vietnam
|Common practices||Issues / Challenges|
|Copy what have been shared by other sites
|– Lack of competent HSE personnel who can modify and make it suitable to the real situation|
|Try to make things available and so call “comply” with Vietnamese regulations, do think as “tick in the box”
|– Lack of real commitment from top management and seriousness in implementation
– Lack of strong re-enforcement of local authorities
|The conflict between what they committed with safety or HSE performance & production||– Daily cost challenges and cost-cutting
– Pressure of “deliver the production/sales targets”.
|Part-time arrangement for HSE role to fit with budget limitation and control||– Part-time safety/HSE may not have good enough knowledge and experience in HSE
– Busy with operation/other roles
– Less focus on Safety/HSE
|Lack of commitment from top management, unclear roles & responsibilities and poor collaborations amongst team & department in HSE implementation with a company
|– Poor leadership and low safety/HSE awareness in the workforce
– Less maturity level in HSE execution
– Lack of strong enforcement from authorities
|Not report to the top leader and/or no functional connection with Regional/Group||– Conflict with operation target/interest
– Safety/HSE is not a priority
Possibility for improvement and available solutions
Based on the understanding of the community’s perceptions and current common practices of HSE application, the company can justify how to do to make HSE become a real value that contributed to the operation and by the time making Safety/HSE awareness accelerated and wider spread in their workforce
- The first important task for an entity to do is making LEGAL REGISTER live and always updated. It helps you to know what to do and when to do what for your operation to comply with local regulations. If you don’t have it, you need to make it or get it from HSE Consulting Service Provider.
- To get your HSE procedures implemented, you need to FORM HSE PROGRAMS and drive it in a systematic manner. Those HSE programs shall be based on the risk assessment, including all matters related to People, Processes and Tool/Equipment that are described and guided in procedures. You may not have competent HSE people to assess your operation and develop HSE programs, but you can get the supervision from HSE Consulting Service Provider.
There are many HSE programs that you need to form such as:
- Inspections and Audits
- Incident Management
- Electric Safety (or Control of Hazard Energy, CoHE)
- Critical Work Safety Management (or Permit to Work)
- Chemical Safety
- Warehouse Safety Management
- Power Truck Safety (or Forklift Safety, Internal Traffic Management)
- Contractor Safety Management
- Lifting & Hoisting Safety
- Training people who are managing HSE is also important. It’s not only Legal Safety Training required by Decree 44/2016/ND-CP but also making them competent as a Qualified HSE Officer to do the work. People need to have a good understanding of Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) and for particular operations that have technically high risks are involved then need Process Safety Management (PSM). Those trainings you absolutely can get from HSE Consulting Service Provider. The content can be modified to totally fit with your operation. There are some important HSE Training Courses:
a. For OH&S management qualification that you must know i.e.
- Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment
- CoHE/LOTO & Electric Safety
- Safety Leadership Expectation
- General HSE Awareness
- Internal Safety Inspection and Audit
- Safety-Walk & Talk (SWAT) for Safety Performance Improvement
- Warehouse & Chemical Safety Management
- Incident Investigation
- Hazard Identification Analysis (HAZID)
- Hazard and Operability Analysis (HAZOP)
- Fire and Explosion Risk Analysis (FERA)
- Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA)
- Bow-tie XP,
- The HSE MS evaluation to identify the gaps and compliance level of an operation is required for CSR compliance requirement, MERGER & ACQUISITION (M&A) and also for HSE MS IMPROVEMENT. You can get this service from HSE Consulting Service Providers.
- HSE Management Software nowadays becomes more available and can help you step into a risk control management framework systematically. It has many features that may fit to your business and up to your choices:
- Self-participated, self-owned
- Easy online access on your PC, tablet or mobile device
- Template-based for risks, risk events and action plans
- Full info on organization, work-flow, stakeholders and contents
- Automated dashboards, risk registers and reports
- Remote control/management
- Hamid Sarkheil1, Bahram Tahery2, Behzad Rayegani1, Javad Ramezani1, Hamid Goshtasb1, Ali Jahani1. Evaluating the current status of the national health, safety and environment management system for integration, harmonization, and standardization of environmental protection. UDC 614: 62: 502+005; DOI: 10.21668/health.risk/2020.1.02.eng
- College of Environment, Albors province, Standard Sq., Karaj, 31746-1, Iran
- Amirkabir University of Technology, 424 Hafez Ave., Tehran, 15875-4413, Iran