As many as 176 workers have died on the job so far this year, the Labour Safety Department under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) has reported.

The department pointed to low awareness of labour safety regulations, as well as a shortage of State labour safety staff and inadequate punishments for violations as main causes.

There are currently 450 labour inspectors for the whole country, but only about 50 received training in labour safety and hygiene standards. Two are doctors.

Consequently, only 0.22 percent of operating enterprises can be inspected by State officials each year.

According to MOLISA reports from 58 cities and provinces, nearly 13,000 enterprises and factories have been inspected this year. More than 1,000 were found violating labour safety regulations.

In addition, early this year, four MOLISA inspection groups collected nearly 280 million VND (13,460 USD) from roughly 70 violating enterprises in the three northern provinces of Bac Giang, Lang Son and Thai Nguyen.

In early 2013, more than 320,000 workers at State agencies at central and local levels were trained in labour safety and hygiene as well as fire control and prevention.

The Labour Safety Department plans to issue labour safety and hygiene guidelines concerning the use of special equipment and electricity in high-risk sectors and instruct enterprises in the application of the guidelines.

The department planned to complete seven sets of national labour safety standards this year and is working urgently to develop the Law on Labour Safety and Hygiene so as to submit it to the National Assembly for approval in 2014.-VNA