Nearly 90 garment workers fainted at the Olive Apparel factory in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district on Monday after starting work for just about 30 minutes.
Por Sen Chey district police chief Yim Saran said the 88 garment workers began to vomit before fainting due to strong chemical smell and poor ventilation system.
“First, only one garment worker fainted. After the other workers saw her falling down, they started to faint too. We took them to a private medical clinic."
“They were discharged after three to four hours. I don’t know how many people are still being treated at the clinic and how many had returned home,” he said.
Chuon Vuthy, director of the municipal Labour and Vocational Training Department, said he had sent experts to visit the workers after learning of the incident.
“No one was seriously ill. My officials said they were getting better and some were able to return home,” he said.
Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (CCAWDU), said the working environment at some factories had not improved.
Thorn said the number of workers who faint at work increases every year despite repeated criticisms from unions, which he said have jointly urged factory owners to improve their ventilation system and maintain a good working atmosphere and proper sanitation.
“We need to demand factories to follow [safety] standards. They must determine if there is enough light, heat, and proper ceiling height that enable smooth air circulation and to ward off bad odours,” he said.
A report issued by the National Police on Monday said the Olive Apparel factory in Chaom Chao II commune’s Prey Kambot village currently employs over 2,000 garment workers.