Traffic accidents involving garment workers decreased by 10 per cent last year, said a report from the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
However, the number of victims increased by seven per cent, leading to unions expressing concern that the ongoing issue of safe transportation must still be addressed.
On Friday, NSSF officials were joined by members of various working groups from the garment sector, including those involved in stopping in-factory fainting, decreasing occupational hazards and improving transportation safety, as they reviewed last year’s work and looked to this year’s goals.
A report from NSSF that was tabled at the meeting showed that the number of accidents involving garment workers last year decreased by 156 cases or 10 per cent when compared with 2018 figures. However, the number of victims rose by 143 or seven per cent.
“The traffic accidents were caused by people exceeding the speed limit [37 per cent], disregarding traffic signs [23 per cent], overtaking without considerations for road conditions and right of way [18 per cent], making careless turns [9.2 per cent], not keeping to the right [eight per cent], vehicles not in a roadworthy condition [four per cent] and road-related factors [0.8 per cent],” the report noted.
NSSF policy bureau director Heng Sophanarith said there were 1,554 accidents involving garment workers last year. In them, there were 2,006 casualties, including 50 deaths, 341 serious injuries and 1,615 minor injuries.
NSSF director Ouk Sam Vichea said during the meeting that all working groups to protect workers must continue carrying out their duties with vigilance to improve the situation.
Sam Vichea said the number of in-factory fainting cases must be tackled, occupational hazards decreased and road safety improved, noting that the goals can be met through more on-ground education at factories.
“We will do whatever is possible for workers and employers to gain better health and raise their living standards, such as contributing to the promotion of the sector of the economy for non-stop growth,” he said.
Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia deputy secretary-general Kaing Monika could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
Collective Union of Movement of Workers president Pav Sina said the Ministry of Labour, under which the NSSF falls, has been trying to improve transportation safety for workers, but more work must be done.
He said Ministry of Labour officials have directly trained drivers transporting workers, but safety concerns persist.
“This problem still continues and we are concerned. I think we should create an additional consultative group to seek new measures to stop it,” Sina said.
He added that to reduce traffic accidents, the authorities must strengthen traffic law enforcement while also assigning officers to patrol roads along which workers are often transported.