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Fainting at Gap supplier

Another mass-fainting incident has hit a garment factory in Kampong Speu province that supplies goods to global retailer Gap.

More than 30 workers at Sangwoo Cambodia Co Ltd’s factory were hospitalised after fainting in quick succession about an hour after they began work at 7am yesterday.

They said poor ventilation and lack of oxygen had made it difficult for them to breathe.

Sou Samphos, 22, told the Post she had begun to feel weak in the knees before falling unconscious. “While I was sitting down to sew, I started choking and my heart started racing. That’s all I remember,” she said at the provincial referral hospital.

Provincial health department director Or Vanthen said the 32 women had fainted because of a combination of factors including hunger, exhaustion, poor health and working in a building with poor ventilation.

“The area where the workers fainted had no window or fan. The workers were pale, their hands were numb, and they were gasping for air,” he said.

Seam Veasna, a doctor who treated the women, said they had been vomiting.

Oum Meng, Sangwoo’s chief of administration, denied reports that the women had been exposed to pesticides used to keep insects off fabrics. “We store fabrics in separate warehouses and they are not connected to the work spaces,” he said.

The factory is monitored by the International Labour Organisation’s Better Factories Cambodia program, which aims to ensure all exporting garment factories adhere to national labour laws and international standards.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY VINCENT MACISAAC

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