Labour Minister Ith Samheng yesterday revealed ministry plans to establish a health and safety laboratory to keep the country’s workplaces in check when it comes to occupational health, though at least one labour rights expert said the planned laboratory was only “good in terms of propaganda”.
Samheng made the announcement of the laboratory during a workshop held by the ministry and the Japan Anti-Tuberculosis Association (JATA) to exchange experiences on the implementation of measures designed to strengthen occupational health and safety in the workplace.
Nearly 70 ministry officials were trained by JATA on workplace safety as well as how to detect diseases in the workplace, such as tuberculosis, which easily spreads in tightly occupied places.
“The ministry is planning to create a health and safety laboratory in Cambodia to examine the health and safety in the workplaces,” Samheng told attendees, adding that the lab would be the next step after this year’s rollout of the national health insurance scheme for workers.
Moeun Tola, executive director of labour rights group Central, said that under the law employers are responsible for work injuries and “professional diseases”, which are considered a work-related accident if the employee contracted the disease at work.
But the planned laboratory would do little to fix several issues related to workplace injuries. “It’s good in terms of propaganda,” he said.