VIENTIANE, ASEAN member countries are planning to create occupational health guidelines for industries by risk factor, to provide preventive measure recommendations for workers' health in Laos and the region, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Wednesday.

Occupational health and safety is one of the most important issues for workers in ASEAN countries, and regional guidelines would allow the assessment and monitoring of workers' health, according to an ASEAN health official meeting in Lao capital Vientiane on Tuesday.

The guidelines would take into account existing laws, the main agencies involved, and law enforcement regarding occupational safety and the health of workers in ASEAN member countries.

Director General of Laos' Hygiene and Health Promotion Department, Ministry of Health, Bounpheng Philavong, highlighted the importance of the "Workshop on the Finalization of ASEAN Guidelines on Occupational Health Surveillance Criteria by Industry" as a platform for sharing ideas and experiences in the field.

"At present, Laos doesn't have laws or guidelines regarding occupational health. For several years we have followed orders issued by the prime minister and the health minister concerning the prevention and control of occupational disease among the working population," Bounpheng said at the Tuesday meeting, "regional guidelines would play an important role for all workers in ASEAN, including Lao people, because they would protect workers' right to health."

A Malaysian health representative said the aim of the guidelines was to provide a reference when assessing and monitoring workers' health and recommendations on prevention and control measures that may be taken to prevent exposure to hazardous materials in certain industries.

The measures suggested are the basic steps and further action will be taken according to the needs and resources available.

The guidelines can be used as a first step, providing a platform to further enhance the prevention and control of occupational diseases among the working population, according to the report.

Source: NAM News Network