OBJECTIVE: There were two objectives. The first was to describe the Vietnamese system of occupational safety and health (OSH) and its problems. The second was to evaluate priorities among future OSH policies by the analytical hierarchy process (AHP). METHODS: The Vietnamese OSH system was analysed in detail mainly based on various official documents. After the OSH problems in Vietnam were identified through discussions with Vietnamese OSH specialists they were given priorities in five different OSH policies, which were evaluated by the AHP. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: The OSH system in Vietnam is in theory well organised: the government has established fundamental laws and has organised the OSH administrative system from the central to the grassroots level. However, this system does not work sufficiently well to improve working conditions. According to discussions with Vietnamese OSH specialists, four factors associated with OSH problems in Vietnam were evaluated: shortage of materials and manpower, inadequate OSH information system, inappropriate OSH administrative system, and poor awareness of workers and employers about the OSH problems. Considering the relative importance of these four factors, the priorities within five policies were evaluated by the AHP technique. The results showed that the most important change needed was reorganisation of the OSH administrative system, followed by OSH education for workers and employers, training of personnel in OSH services, improvement of OSH research activity, and the establishment of an adequate OSH information system. It is expected that developed countries will help the Vietnamese government to implement these programmes.
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