The National Social Security Fund released a report yesterday attributing the death of a garment worker on the job in Prey Veng province last week to her own physical condition and not the factory she worked in, a claim rejected by the victim’s family.
After inspecting the R Sambath Trading factory in Svay Anthor commune and meeting with the owner, worker representatives and factory clinic staff, the NSSF’s working group concluded that Vorn Srey Neang, 19, died for vaguely described “health” reasons unrelated to the factory.
The group’s report did not specify the illness Srey Neang had that caused her demise, detailing instead the symptoms she began experiencing the morning of her death on November 5.
“Vorn Srey Neang was tired, had difficulty breathing and was sent to get help at a hospital, where she passed away because she was critically ill and the doctors could not help her on time,” the report reads.
NSSF representatives could not be reached for comment.
The report added that 17 workers fainted from shock over a two-day period after receiving news that their co-worker had died at the Prey Veng provincial referral hospital. The factory was closed down following the faintings but reopened on Tuesday following the NSSF inspection.
But the worker’s family members aren’t buying the report’s main conclusion, said Soy Heng, 32, Srey Neang’s sister-in-law.
“I do not think Vorn Srey Neang died because of her health. She died because of a work incident, since she was not sick before she died,” she said.
Heng added that the family was demanding $10,000 in compensation for their loss from the factory, although no complaint has been filed in the court system.
“Vorn Srey Neang was a daughter who earned a living to support her parents, but she’s dead now,” she said.
Pich Sophat, the administrative manager of the R Sambath Trading factory, said the factory’s work environment had no outstanding issues.
“Vorn Srey Neang came to work and after about 30 minutes she was not well, but we sent her to the factory clinic for a checkup and then we sent her to hospital, but in the evening, we heard she died,” he said.
“We regret her death, too.”
Sophat added that he could not comment on whether the factory would provide compensation or not at this stage.