The International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Project Advisory Committee on enhancing Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) standards in the construction sector on September 6 held its third consultative meeting, where they shared the results of the projects that were implemented this year and outlined their 2023 implementation plans.

The meeting – held in Phnom Penh and attended by representatives of the government, trade unions and employers’ associations – reported on the progress of ILO project activities and analysed OSH documents.

The outcomes were related to Convention No 187, which measured progress on the preparation and adoption of various legal documents relating to OSH in Cambodia, including an OSH policy, OSH regulations and an OSH master plan.

Yan Thy – secretary-general of the Building and Wood Workers Trade Union Federation of Cambodia who was also in attendance – said the meeting ran smoothly and he expected OSH standards in the construction industry to improve as a result.

According to Thy, the meeting discussed two issues in detail. The first was related to the regulations and policies adopted by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training pertaining to the health and safety of construction workers.

The second was the challenges associated with asbestos found in some products in the construction sector. The use of products containing asbestos has reportedly affected the health of workers.

“Many workers in the sector face occupational hazards, and a better understanding is required of the social protection systems that are in place.

“At some ‘borey’ construction sites, the majority of workers have no idea of their rights and responsibilities when it comes to health and safety,” he said in reference to the construction of gated communities.

Thy requested all relevant parties, including the government and employers, implement the principles or policies that have already been agreed upon, in order to protect all construction workers equally.