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Caution urged for factory truckers

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Garment workers riding in the back of a truck travelling on National Road 5 after finishing their shift in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district in May 2020. Hong Menea

Caution urged for factory truckers

The deputy director-general of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Heng Sophannarith met with nearly 200 truck drivers and factory transportation workers and told them to respect the road traffic laws to avoid accidents for workers.

The meeting took place on January 3 at the Cambo Unisoll Co Ltd factory as part of the first road safety education campaign targeting the drivers of the trucks that carry the factory workers to and from their workplaces each day.

Sophannarith said that traffic accidents continued to occur involving trucks transporting workers. Some accidents were caused by vehicle-related factors, like when trucks that were built for transporting goods were converted to transport workers instead.

“Everyone, and especially drivers who are transporting groups of workers, must respect and obey the traffic laws, be tolerant of others on the road when travelling and always adhere to proper driving etiquette,” he said.

Sophannarith said that the laws that must be strictly observed are never exceeding the speed limit, no driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and never driving while drowsy and in need of sleep.

“Wearing your seatbelts, driving on the right side of the road and checking your vehicle’s operating condition before taking on passengers are all aspects of knowing how to drive properly and being careful while driving,” he said.

Preap Chanvibol, advisor to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and deputy director of the road traffic safety team for worker prevention at the NSSF, also called on the truck drivers to respect and obey the road traffic laws consistently.

“Trucks transporting workers must not be overloaded with workers and they must check their vehicles condition before leaving to transport workers. They also must regularly get their trucks inspected,” he said.

Chanvibol added that all drivers who are transporting workers must pass their driving test and get a driver’s license in accordance with the type of vehicle they will be using.

According to a report from the road safety working group for the protection of workers at the NSSF, in 2021 there were road traffic accidents involving factory workers on 3,268 occasions with 3,875 victims including 109 deaths, 905 serious injuries and 2,861 minor injuries.

The report added that there were 11 incidents directly related to the condition of the trucks transporting the workers that resulted in 349 victims, three deaths and 50 serious injuries as well as 296 minor injuries.

At a national seminar to discuss shifting the factory sector over to the use of a dedicated fleet of passenger vehicles for worker transportation rather than relying on cargo vehicles in late December, Asia Injury Prevention Foundation director Kim Pagna said that the number of service vehicles transporting workers with cargo trucks had decreased significantly, but the number was still too high.

He said that according to a recent report released by the NSSF, among the vehicles that provided transportation services to workers in 2020, there were nearly 4,000 trucks and about 60 per cent of them were cargo trucks.

“Providing appropriate and safe transportation for workers is very important as this not only helps prevent and reduce traffic accidents among those workers, but also has the effect of long-term positives for efforts to reduce traffic accidents across the country,” he said. “It also contributes to helping Cambodia achieve its goal of saving lives and the goal of sustainable development by 2030.”

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