Increased awareness among all stakeholders is necessary to improve working environments in Vietnam , which generally suffer from several forms of pollution as well as a lack of safety precautions, experts said.

Their comments were made at a Dec. 5 meeting organised by the Work Safety Bureau under the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs to unveil a five-year plan (2011-15) under which the propagation of labour safety and hygiene information will be strengthened nationwide.

The plan will particularly focus on employees and employers in industries that carry a higher risk of labour accidents like construction, chemical production and mining.

It aims to each out to more than 1,000 trade villages, 5,000 cooperatives, and 30,000 small and medium-size enterprises by 2015.

Labour safety and hygiene issues relating to their area of study will be included in the curricula of vocational schools and universities, said Do Thuy Nguyet, deputy head of the Work Safety Bureau.

Close cooperation is needed between local authorities and trade unions as well as other associations including the association of small and medium enterprises, women's associations and farmers' associations to implement the plan effectively, she added.

Ha Tat Thang, head of the bureau, said raising awareness of labour safety and hygiene among employees and employers was key to achieving the Government's aim of stable socio-economic development.

According to a report by the National Scientific Research Institute for Labour and Social Protection, the working environment in general is polluted by dust, noise and toxic gases.

In the first six months of this year, 3,531 labour accidents occurred nationwide, an increase of 920 compared to the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs.

The accidents killed 273 and injured 544 people.

Ten provinces and cities with a high number of fatal labour accidents are Dong Nai, HCM City, Binh Duong, Quang Ninh, Hanoi, Da Nang, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, and Son La./.