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Officials looking into deaths of two workers

The government is closely examining the deaths of two garment workers that occurred this month, including one who died on company grounds, officials said yesterday.

Sam Onn, of the Labour Ministry’s National Social Security Fund, said it was investigating the death of Vorn Sitha, 39, on July 19, and Nov Pas, 35, five days later.

Sitha’s body was found inside Kandal province’s New Archid garment factory, where he worked. Sitha slept on factory grounds the night of his death after working from 7am until 10pm, said co-worker Pum Noun, 35, who discovered his body the next morning.

“We worked overtime from 4pm until 10pm [after starting at 7am] every day because we need the money,” Noun said. “Before he died, his health seemed fine; I never heard him complain about being sick.”

Officials from the factory could not be reached.

On Thursday, management at the Sangwoo factory in Kampong Speu province sent Pas, an employee, to the provincial hospital about 10 kilometres away after she fainted at about 8am, said HR manager Cheav Sok Theng.

Medical staff discovered Pas had a disease that caused her lungs to fill up with fluid. She died at the hospital at about 5:30 that afternoon.

“The government hospital [doesn’t have] enough equipment, not enough medicine, and not enough skilled doctors,” said Sok Theng, adding that those injured at work are normally sent to the provincial hospital because it is the closest one. “I really regret when my workers die like this.”

But the condition from which Pas suffered may not have been fatal if treated early, said Dr Kong Bunly, director of the technical section at the Kampong Speu Provincial Hospital.

In Pas’s condition, she should not have been performing arduous tasks for long periods of time, Bunly added.

Pas had been working in the factory for about a year. Employees are required to have medical tests before being employed in garment factories.

Separately, about 139 employees at Sixplus Industry in Kandal province fainted over the weekend, the Labour Ministry confirmed.

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