Six garment workers sustained “critical wounds” while 29 others were “mildly injured” in a head-on collision between two vehicles on National Road 41 in Kampong Speu province’s Baset district on Tuesday.
The accident involved a van – that transported the 35 garment workers – and a cement truck travelling in opposite directions, district deputy police chief Siem Khunly told The Post.
He confirmed that no one was killed in the road mishap, but six workers were seriously injured, with their arms and legs broken and dislocated, and 29 others sustaining slight injuries.
As the truck headed towards a tyre repair shop on the other side of the road, the driver did not seem to mind the traffic coming from the opposite direction when it made a turn and could not hit the brakes on time, causing the collision with the van, Khunly said, citing witness accounts.
“Soon after the collision, the police arrived at the scene and ordered the ambulance to take the victims to hospitals such as Baset District Referral Hospital and Kampong Speu Provincial Referral Hospital,” he said.
Speaking to The Post on Tuesday, Collective Union of Movement of Workers president Pav Sina said most road mishaps involving garment workers occurred in Kampong Speu and Svay Rieng provinces.
He suggested that the authorities find ways to prevent traffic accidents from happening “again and again” and noted that such instances contribute to reducing the labour force.
Chiev Bunrith, the chief of the policy department at the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), could not be reached for comment on the matter.
In a related development, Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Tuesday said the number of road accidents continued to rise over time, which means that the number of people who abide by the traffic laws was falling.
“I urge all transportation companies to carefully select drivers during their recruitment process or they should be required to learn [traffic regulations] first."
“[Furthermore], they should be tested for narcotics. If they are found using drugs, please don’t hire them as drivers because we know that using illegal substances will damage one’s nervous system."
“How can they control their driving and follow the traffic laws properly [while under the influence of drugs]?” he asked participants at the 12th Road Safety Week event in Tbong Khmum province.
An NSSF report released early this year said nearly 2,000 garment workers fell victim to traffic accidents nationwide last year.
In 1,692 cases that were recorded, 40 people were killed and 300 badly injured. The figure indicated a decrease from the previous year.
However, it said that instances of fainting in factories increased by 46 per cent last year compared to 2017.