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Fumes lead to factory fainting

Fumes lead to factory fainting

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About 60 female workers at a garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district were rushed to a nearby hospital yesterday after fainting from inhaling paint fumes.

Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post
Garment workers employed by the King First Industrial Co factory recover yesterday at Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh after a mass fainting episode.

Tuol Sangke commune police chief Huy Hean said that workers at King First Industrial Co Ltd began vomiting and complaining of dizziness and nausea in the morning.

“The female workers smelled paint that had been applied to the floor, so they were not well. Some vomited, and some were dizzy,” he said.

Rong Rrey Loth told the Post yesterday that she had felt tired and dizzy, but that her situation was “minor compared to others who fell unconscious.... We choked after inhaling the smell from the paint”, she said.

Neang Nak, 26, claimed that although she felt sick and could not “bear the paint smell”, the company did not initially allow her to leave.

Factory administration official Tes Sithan confirmed that approximately 60 workers had been sent to Calmette Hospital yesterday morning, after they began fainting about an hour after arriving to work. “I think that the fainting resulted from the bad smell from the paint on the floor of the new building in the factory,” she said.

Police chief Huy Hean said the factory eventually closed for the day after a request from authorities.

Meng Hong, a member of a committee for preventing workplace injuries at the Ministry of Labour, said the committee had recommended to the factory that it improve its working conditions before reopening. “We advised the factory to fulfill certain working conditions, like proper ventilation,” he said.

Free Trade Union officer Ouk Khen, who observed the fainting, echoed Meng Hong’s concerns. “The factory needs to be revamped because it is stuffy and has no fresh air, so that when the door is open, bad smell comes in,” he said. Despite these calls, factory administration official Tes Sithan said she had not received word from her boss that the factory would be closed today.

Van Sonny, 32, one of the fainting workers, said she too was awaiting word. “I want the company to be shut down, but there is no information yet, because tomorrow I have to work again,” she said.

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