Twenty female garment workers at Evergreen Apparel factory in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district fainted yesterday because of toilet fumes funnelled through the ventilation system, though heat stress and heavy workloads were also possible factors.
According to a report by the National Social Security Fund, one worker initially fainted at about 9:30am, before others began experiencing difficulties.
The first worker, Thon Kakada, “found it hard to breathe. She was then sent to Preah Kosomak hospital. When other workers saw her, they followed and fainted”, the report said.
Cheav Bunrith, spokesman for the NSSF, said episodes of fainting continued until 3:30pm and were caused by improper ventilation. “The ventilation is placed near toilets. It brings the smell from the toilet.”
The NSSF report also listed overtime work, heat and stress as factors. The fund has ordered the factory to replace its ventilation system, clean their toilets, temporarily cancel overtime shifts and give workers the weekend off.
It additionally warned them not to cut salaries. Sin Pring, monitor for the Free Trade Union at the factory, said all workers who were hospitalised have since been sent home.