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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministries inspect factory

Ministries inspect factory

Officials from the Ministries of Health, Environment, and Labour yesterday reported that working conditions at a garment factory in the capital were “regular”, despite acknowledging that nearly 300 workers had reportedly suffered from exhaustion at the factory in the past week.

The Post reported last week that roughly 30 workers had fainted at the Zhen Tai Garment (Cambodia) Co Ltd factory in Sen Sok district after sparks started flying from a generator and a fire alarm went off.

The following day, about 50 workers fainted, many of whom later complained of foul-smelling chemicals in the factory.

According to a joint statement released yesterday, representatives from the three ministries who visited Zhen Tai factory concluded that the facility had a proper working environment “without any foul-smelling chemicals”.

However, officials acknowledged that 20 workers had fainted and 281 had reported  exhaustion in the last five days, which they attributed to “panic” and “lack of sleep”.

“Some workers fainted because they were scared of a spark from the generator and the fire alarm, others reported exhaustion, headaches and difficulty breathing because of panic and short sleep,” the statement said.

During the visit from authorities, 24 workers complained of dizziness and exhaustion, but a labour ministry official downplayed the symptoms, claiming that the workers were still scared from previous faintings.

“The environment and conditions at the factory are good, but these workers are still scared from incidents like the electrical malfunction and sparks [from the generator],” Pok Vanthat, deputy director of the Occupational Health Department at the Ministry of Labour, said yesterday.

Kea Cheakea, chief of administration at Zhen Tai factory, claimed yesterday that the figure quoted by officials may have been inflated by some workers being counted twice.  She added that she had invited the officials to visit the factory, despite officials claiming they had come to inspect the facility independently.

Kea Cheakea said the factory’s international buyer was concerned about the recent reports of fainting and was scheduled to visit the factory this morning.

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