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Another construction worker killed

An 18-year-old man became the third construction worker in three days to be killed on the job after part of a building collapsed on him and three co-workers – including two 15-year-olds – on Monday, police said.

Yu Bunrong, from Kampong Cham province’s Koh Sotin district, died in hospital hours after the newly constructed storage building in Sen Sok district crashed down on him.

Pen Thol, Toek Thla commune police chief, initially told the Post that poor construction standards could be to blame for the collapse, but later attributed the accident to stormy weather.

“The building collapsed because of the rain and wind,” he said, adding this was the opinion of Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction inspectors who had visited the site. “Mr Chab Hong Ly owns the building. He’s responded by paying compensation to the victim’s family.”

One of the workers, 26, was seriously injured, while the two teenagers received minor injuries.

The accident came two days after a concrete fence crushed two workers to death on a building site in the capital’s Meanchey district.

Dave Welsh, from labour-rights group Solidarity Center/ACILS, said the latest death raised even more questions about safety, accountability and compensation in the construction industry.

“Unfortunately, you only hear about [a lot of these cases] through word of mouth, because these workers are considered informal,” he said.

The Ministry of Labour, Welsh added, was not encouraging construction workers to sign up to the National Social Security Fund – which compensates workers and their families in instances of death or injury – because it feared it would be “compensating people all the time”.

“Our position is the [NSSF] should apply automatically. Every worker should enjoy the same protections,” he said.

Sum Sophorn, deputy chief of the NSSF, said yesterday that construction companies were welcome to register with the fund, but did not say how many actually were registered.

“We will pay compensation to the victims’ families based on their contributions,” he said.

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