More than 50 garment factory workers were injured – eight of them seriously – in two accidents in Kampong Cham and Kampong Chhnang provinces over the weekend.
On Friday, 28 were injured in Svay commune’s Tuol Pongro village, in Kampong Chhnang. Two of the passengers were seriously injured and sent to Phnom Penh for treatment.
Thon Vanna, a unionist with the Free Trade Union, said that the truck was carrying workers for four factories: Jin Yi Factory, Long Lit, Tiek Fok and Horizon Factory.
Vanna said a remorque also carrying garment workers tried to avoid a pothole and then crashed into the truck, which flipped over, injuring almost all of the more than 30 workers.
Vanna is himself a truck driver for the factories, he said, and although he said he has never had an accident, he called out the dangerous conditions.
“They don’t have any lights set up along the road, and the road that workers use is bad, with a lot of holes,” he said.
An additional 26 workers were injured on Saturday off National Road 6 in Kampong Cham on a road leading towards Roveang Village in Cheung Prey district’s Khnor Dambang commune.
The truck was on its way to Kaliton Factory and crashed into a charcoal truck at 6:30am after having dropped off workers at Chou Huoy Factory factory, according to Cheung Prey District Police Chief Cheang Sair.
Sair said some workers fell off the truck, and six workers were seriously injured and sent for treatment in Phnom Penh.
“All injured workers are from Kaliton Factory,” he said.
Cambodian Labour Confederation President Ath Thorn said yesterday that crashes are a recurrent problem. “The related ministries need to have more mechanisms to prevent them, as some accidents are caused by bad roads, no lights. And not all the drivers understand the traffic law,” he said.
Ear Chariya, founder of the Road Safety Institute, said factories, ministries and vehicle owners had to work on solutions. Using buses for workers, and building more dormitories near factories, could help to improve safety, as would repairs to the roads.
“Each factory might need a different solution,” he said. “But road accidents are the number one cause for injuries and deaths at factories . . . They have to find a solution.”
Additional reporting by Leonie Kijewski