The number of officially recorded workplace deaths in Cambodia increased by more than 25 per cent from 2011 to 2012, while the vast majority of those injured at work were women, National Social Security Fund figures released yesterday reveal.
A total of 59 people were reported to have died as a result of work-related accidents last year, while more than 10,000 of the 14,233 injured were women – mostly from the garment and footwear sector –
according to the figures.
Most of those who died were construction workers or garment employees travelling to or from their factory.
Recorded deaths overall increased from 47 in 2011, while injuries rose from 12,571.
“These figures are from all sectors and include faintings and accidents on the way to work,” said Leng Tong, director of the occupational health and safety department at the Ministry of Labour.
However, the NSSF’s figures relied on employers lodging official reports for compensation and the actual number of injuries could be higher, particularly in the poorly monitored mining sector, Tong added.
American Center for International Labor Solidarity country manager Dave Welsh said the number of workplace deaths was likely higher.
“I’m not saying they’re deliberately whitewashing figures, but they may not be including workers in the informal sector,” he said.
Tuk-tuk drivers and motodops are among the many workers across the country that fall into this category.
Last November, the government announced it would introduce four prakases designed at improving safety in the construction industry by tightening on-site regulations.
Huy Han Song, secretary of state at the Ministry of Labour, said at the time that reform was needed to bring Cambodia up to the standards of its ASEAN neighbours. But seven months on, not one of these prakases has been implemented.
“We are still preparing some of these,” Han Song said yesterday.
The government last month announced plans to introduce a mine safety law to hold companies accountable for working conditions.
Highlighting the dangers workers face, five men and one woman were seriously injured at a quarry in Kampot’s Angkor Chey district on Wednesday night and sent to Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh for treatment.
Additional reporting by Shane Worrell and Lieng Sarith