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Korea assists Cambodia on occupational safety

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Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Sam Heng (right) and Korean deputy director of the Department of Cooperation Development Choi Heaeun after the meeting. Hong Menea

Korea assists Cambodia on occupational safety

Cambodia and Korea have joined hands to study the legislation of occupational health and safety regulations for employees at factories and business enterprises.

The project was initiated on Thursday at the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training when Minister Ith Sam Heng met with Choi Heaeun, the Korean deputy director of the Department of Cooperation Development, Ministry of Employment and Labour, during the Korean delegation’s visit in Cambodia.

Sam Heng urged his Korean counterpart to speed up the feasibility study and prepare the law by 2023 to reduce on-the-job accidents and illnesses.

He said work health and safety laws have been applied in all Asean member states, except Cambodia which is yet to have such a law.

“Currently, we have laws, prakas and directives that cover a wide aspect of work health and safety. But if we want to assimilate everything into one law, we’d have to create it,” Sam Heng said.

Choi said the Korean government is currently preparing the law and would carry out more studies to ensure it would be recognised by all relevant stakeholders and benefits workers once enforced.

“Korea’s Ministry of Employment and Labour thanks the Royal Government of Cambodia and its Ministry of Labour for the good cooperation. Korea will continue supporting the promotion of healthier and safer working conditions for workers in factories and other business enterprises,” Choi said.

The director of the ministry’s Department of Occupational Safety and Health, Leng Tong, said after the meeting that the Kingdom had requested its Korean counterpart two years ago to support a research project concerning the law’s formulation.

“A Korean delegation came today to examine what Cambodia needed as there are several differences between the two nations’ laws. So, they came to meet with us – the employers, representatives, unions, and NGOs,” Tong said.

Collective Union of Movement of Workers president Pav Sina commended the collaboration between the two nations to ensure the safety and health of Cambodian workers. But he noted that the most important thing is the effectiveness of the law’s enforcement.

“I think we have our labour law and other legal standards to protect our workers. They are not bad. But we lack application so we need to have the will to implement this law, and especially put pressure on companies that violate them,” Sina said.

The feasibility study and preparation of the law would be conducted from 2021 to 2023 with a budget of more than $277,000, along with technical and financial support from the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency (Kosha).

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