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Authorities inspect a piece of machinery at a laundry facility on Phnom Penh’s Chruoy Changvar peninsula on Friday after a man was killed in a workplace accident. Photo supplied

Factory worker killed by exploding machine

An employee at a Phnom Penh garment finishing factory that supplies to clothing giant H&M was killed when shrapnel from a machine that exploded struck him in the head.

Chea Saroeun, 35, an employee of C Square Garment Finishing Co Ltd, in the capital’s Russey Keo district, was working at a machine that grinds wood on Friday, said Meach Serie, chief of police in Prek Liep commune, where the factory is located.

The machine helps power a furnace that creates steam for clothes to be steam-washed before they are sold.

An explosion at about 6:20pm on Friday sent the machine’s cover flying, fatally hitting Saroeun in the right side of his head, Serie said.

“The victim’s body was brought to his family by officials from the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), which has also offered them 4 million riel [about $1,000] for funeral costs,” Serie said yesterday.

“The death of the victim is a serious burden for his wife, who now has to raise two children and care for her late husband’s elderly mother.”

NSSF director of policy Cheav Bunrith yesterday said that in addition to funeral costs, the fund will pay the family monthly until the children are between the ages of 18 and 21, at which point the amount of aid provided could be adjusted.

The amount paid each month is dependent on the victim’s salary, Bunrith said.

It was not clear yesterday how much Saroeun’s family will receive each month.

“We have offered money to the victim’s family for the funeral, the next step is to create a bank account for the victim’s family,” Bunrith said.

“They will be able to withdraw money provided by the NSSF monthly.”

However, in many cases, the NSSF does not follow through in their compensation obligations to victims of workplace accidents, said Joel Preston, a consultant for the Community Legal Education Center.

It is H&M’s responsibility to make sure Saroeun’s family receives the money they are owed, Preston said.

“[H&M’s] responsibility is to make sure the law is followed,” Preston said.

Officials from H&M could not be immediately reached for comment yesterday.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SEAN TEEHAN

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