Some 70 garment factory workers were injured yesterday morning when a truck overturned in Kampong Speu’s Odong district.
Kampong Speu provincial police chief Keo Pisi said the truck’s tyre exploded just after 6am, causing it to topple and spill the 70 workers onto the road – the latest in a string of traffic incidents involving factory workers.
“No one is dead and those who were injured were sent to hospital immediately,” Pisi said.
Kampong Speu Free Trade Union official Nan Saron said five victims were seriously injured and sent to Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital, while others were treated at the provincial hospital and a clinic.
He said the tyre burst because the truck was going too fast and appealed to drivers to take care when transporting large numbers of people.
Saron explained the truck belonged to the driver, who regularly transported scores of workers, and not to any of the four Kampong Chhnang factories to which the workers were travelling – Can Sports Shoes, Jiun Ye Garment, Tak Fook and Horizon Outdoor.
The driver, Chheng Bun Roeun, 24, was detained for questioning and has been sent to court over the incident.
Factory worker Sok Ey, 25, who sustained multiple injuries in yesterday’s crash, said: “The truck was driving so fast; then we overturned on the road with many people. I injured my arm, shoulder and leg. We were so panicked,” Ey said.
Chheav Bunrith, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training’s National Social Security Fund, said that the organisation was “finding a solution for the workers to help with their medical fees and give them compensation”.
Piling onto dangerous trucks to get to work was often the “only option” for factory staff, according to Solidarity Center Cambodia country director William Conklin.
Conklin said that brands and factories should not “distance themselves from responsibility” and they needed to consider how their employees travelled to work, adding that an increase in heavy traffic in recent years had led to a spike in accidents, which were sometimes fatal.
A systematic approach – involving brands, manufacturers, government agencies and Traffic Law enforcement – was sorely needed to combat road accidents, he said.
“If there’s no enforcement and there’s no accountability, you can’t really expect the situation to change,” he said.
Can Sports Shoes and Jiun Ye Garment, which employ the majority of the injured workers, could not be reached for comment yesterday