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Workers given lesson in how not to faint


A garment worker receives treatment at Kossamak Hospital following a mass fainting episode last month. Photograph: Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post

Educating garment workers and their bosses on how to avoiding fainting is the latest strategy the Ministry of Labour is using to address a problem that has plagued the industry in the past two years, a ministry official said yesterday. 

Labour Ministry Secretary of State Oum Mean said he and other officials began a campaign on Sunday with visits to the Gladpeer Garment factory in Phnom Penh and the Sabrina Garment factory in Kampong Speu, a Nike supplier and the site of several previous fainting incidents.

“We will do this for almost all the factories over the country,” Mean said.

Labour officials advised workers to eat nutritious and healthy food, get sufficient sleep and work in places with adequate ventilation, he said.

Dave Welsh, American Center for International Labor Solidarity country director, was sceptical about whether the government’s factory trainings could help prevent fainting.

“The issue is relatively simple,” Welsh said, noting it is well known fainting stems from poor health standards and inadequate nutrition.

Factory employees did not need education about causes – they needed solutions to these causes, he said.

“Government involvement is crucial,” Welsh said, but added that real answers to the fainting problem are a “much larger issue” that require further engagement from not only the factories but also the brands they supply.

Free Trade Union officer Oum Lina said she thought the program was a step in the right direction but that it came late and lacked adequate monitoring to ensure factory officials allowed workers the necessary living, working and dietary conditions.

Most faintings occur because  of overtime and lack of sleep and food, she said. 

To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at
With assistance from: Justine Drennan



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