Viet Nam: Risk Management Needed for Everyday Hazards

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This post on risks in everyday Viet Nam life was written by Doyice Cotten. Watch for a follow-up on play areas in Viet Nam.

The appeal of most third world nations is their differences from here in the U.S. Many of these differences involve risks that we might not see every day here.  Some of them are astounding and you wonder how they get away with that – resulting injuries would certainly result in a lawsuit here. The following photos show just a few of the risks seen throughout the country.

Photos 1-6 all involve danger from the misuse of ladders of danger to workers working in high places. The first four are self-explanatory. See how many hazards you can spot. Photos 5a and 5b show a workman holding onto a broken awning while he and a partner try to repair it. Meanwhile, sidewalk traffic continues below. Photo 6 shows a linen and towel storage area in a hotel with a hazardous, circuitous entry using the three black ledges as steps. Immediately below the entry is an open stairwell. At least they added a handgrip to hold onto – though I saw no one use it.

Photos 7-9 illustrate three of the always-present sidewalk tripping hazards. These are just illustrative and certainly not the worst such hazard. Two more sidewalk hazards are the presence of parked mopeds. There are thousands in any city and the most common parking place is in the middle of sidewalk. The second hazard is that shops extend their wares out onto the sidewalk. The result is that it is difficult to walk on sidewalks in commercial areas – subsequently, people must walk in the street.

Another scene one will see every day and everywhere are young kids riding mopeds and motorcycles – usually with no helmet and obviously, no seatbelt. Photo 10 shows someone loading the cycle with children and Photo 11 a young passenger who is not well secured. One of my favorite photos shows two adults and three children on a motorcycle. Photo 12 shows a ramp for enabling one to roll his or her moped into a store.

When one looks at Photo 13 at the jumbled wiring (a common scene in most third world countries), one would conclude there must be no risk management at all in this country. Not so, as evidenced by Photo 14 where a plastic bottle has been used to cover a sharp projection into one’s path on a junk used to take tourists to Halong Bay. One wonders, however, how many tourists were injured before any action was taken.