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Factory precautions urged as temps rise

Garment workers receive treatment at the Khmer-Sovient Friendship Hospital after fainting in 2014.
Garment workers receive treatment at the Khmer-Sovient Friendship Hospital after fainting in 2014. Vireak Mai

Factory precautions urged as temps rise

The Ministry of Labour has urged the garment industry to take adequate health and safety measures to compensate for what they say is already an unusually hot dry season.

A notice issued on Thursday tells employers to begin circulating air in the workplace at least an hour before employees begin their shifts; avoid blocking airways; keep doors and windows open; provide adequate clean water; check fire extinguishers; plan for evacuations; and make emergency plans for any chemicals in use.

Most of these conditions are already part of the existing Labour Law in the country.

However, they become more pressing with high temperatures, “which could make workers feel dehydrated or fall sick easily”, the ministry’s statement said.

Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union Movement of Workers, yesterday said that the ministry should conduct more spot inspections and enforce already-existing rules.

“In general, GMAC and employers are not really interested in that announcement,” Sina said. “Factories won’t add more equipment to reduce heat. They fear losing their money as many of them operate in rental buildings.”

The National Social Security Fund said 1,806 workers fainted at the workplace in 2015, roughly the same number as the year before.

Ken Loo, secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, defended factories yesterday, saying that workers faint “for many different reasons”.

Almost 80 garment workers fainted earlier this month at a factory in the capital in an incident blamed on poor ventilation.

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