A foreign-invested company in Vinh Phuc Province is being investigated after over 100 workers fell ill at work.
Over 100 workers hospitalised
Bui Hong Do, the chief of the office of Vinh Phuc People's Committee, said Loi Tin Lap Thach Company is an FDI company. Its legal representative is a Taiwanese and it employs 4,200 people.
Form November 14 to 18, about 110 workers said they had a headache, dizziness and felt nauseous. It is suspected that they might have suffered from gas poisoning.
101 people were quickly transferred to Lap Thach District Medical Centre and nine were transferred to Song Lo District Medical Centre. All of the workers have recovered.
The police in Lap Thach District and Vinh Phuc Province investigated the case immediately and asked the company to improve the working environment at Factory 3 and shut down eight machines.
According to the workers, the poor working environment was the cause of the poisoning. At 3 pm on November 18, Loi Tin Lap Thach Company announced that they had let workers stay home in order to clean up the spaces and will ask the authorities to come to inspect the factories.
The authorities are investigating the cause of the poisoning.
"We will not exchange the environment for the economy. Foreign investors must follow the law and regulations," Do said.
"Procedures are being completed at the moment. If Loi Tin Lap Thach does not obey the punishment, they will face coercive measures."
Vinh Phuc Department of Natural Resources and Environment said they were only responsible for waste discharge and management at Loi Tin Lap Thach Company, the poisoning case is the responsibilty of the Department of Health.
In early 2019, various environmental violations were found at the company but the report didn't include the working environment. The department has asked experts to take samples and test the working environment at Loi Tin Lap Thach.
After the meetings on November 15 and 18, they have set up an inspection team to review the nature protection, water sources and land management problems in the area. Loi Tin Lap Thach and Lap Thach Footwear companies will be their main focus.
According to the Vinh Phuc Department of Natural Resources and Environment, the police department of environmental crimes already inspected Loi Tin Lap Thach Company in late 2018, early 2019. Various violations had been found including discharging wastewater into the environment.
Vinh Phuc People's Committee issued a VND750m (USD32,300) fine but the company has failed to comply.
The Department of Natural Resources and Environment said if Loi Tin Lap Thach refused to pay the fine, they would face forced payment.
The department will continue the inspection and check on the previously-reported wrongdoings. If the company still hasn't fixed those issues, it will be considered aggravating circumstances.
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