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Garment workers receive medical treatment yesterday after they were injured during a traffic accident in Kampong Speu’s Odong district. Photo supplied
Garment workers receive medical treatment yesterday after they were injured during a traffic accident in Kampong Speu’s Odong district. Photo supplied

Crash injures 33 in Kampong Speu

Thirty-three garment workers were injured – 12 of them seriously – when the truck they were riding to their factories crashed yesterday morning in Kampong Speu’s Odong district, according to a statement from the Ministry of Labour.

Provincial police chief Keo Pisei said the accident happened because the workers’ truck was speeding, then swerved to avoid hitting another truck and overturned.

“No one died. The NSSF will be responsible to pay for [the medical expenses],” said National Social Security Fund spokesman Cheav Bunrith.

The ministry’s statement noted 27 workers were sent to nearby clinics, and three each were sent to Phnom Penh’s Calmette and Preah Kossamak hospitals.

Soy Chanthou, of the Cambodian Textile and Garment Workers’ Federation, visited the accident site and said the truck did not seem safe.

“It is very dangerous,” he said. “The truck had a cage, and there were more than 50 workers standing in it, so when it overturned, it was easy for them to fall out.”

Police initially detained the driver for questioning, and were still investigating whether he was licensed. A recent operation in Kampong Chhnang province found that nearly 50 per cent of garment truck drivers stopped by traffic police were unlicensed.

Garment transport accidents are stubbornly common. Earlier this year, five workers died and another 138 were injured in two other Kampong Speu incidents.

“Unfortunately, the problem has been growing,” said William Conklin, country director for Solidarity Center. “Workers often do not have options . . . Training the drivers has been an important step, but more needs to be done.”

Additional reporting by Donna M Airoldi

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