Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Labour Ministry forms new body to monitor workplace safety



Labour Ministry forms new body to monitor workplace safety

People inspect the damage to a garment  factory floor in Takeo’s Tonle Bati district in 2014 after it collapsed without warning.
People inspect the damage to a garment factory floor in Takeo’s Tonle Bati district in 2014 after it collapsed without warning. Vireak Mai

Labour Ministry forms new body to monitor workplace safety

A new National Committee on Occupational Safety and Health established under a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday will advise the government on all work-place safety issues – but excludes transportation accidents, which one observer said make up the majority of work-related injuries in the country.

The committee will have a total of 40 members, of which 20 will come from the government, 10 from unions and 10 from employers, Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour said yesterday.

“The committee is an ad-hoc committee to advise and give recommendations to the Minister of Labour,” he said, adding that it will only look at work-related injuries that happen on employers’ campuses.

But despite a persistent toll of multiple-injury garment truck crashes, the committee won’t look at transportation accidents because there are other committees working on the issue, which is also covered by National Social Security Fund, Sour said. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport is developing a set of standards for worker transport, he added.

But as William Conklin, country director for labour rights group Solidarity Center, pointed out, the number of work-related injuries that happen at work pale in comparison to those that happen while en route.

“It’s not fair that transportation is left out of this equation,” he said.

However, he said he was aware of the efforts to address the recurring crashes, allowing it was a “complex” issue “that’s been 20 years in the making”.

“There will continue to be traffic accidents,” he said. “The issue of transportation will take a long time [to fix]. The standards will take a long time.”

Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said unions too are mostly worried about traffic accidents involving workers, and had hoped the new committee would reconsider taking up the issue.

“The ministry must think of a new mechanism to deal with it,” she said. Meanwhile, Moeun Tola, executive director of labour rights group Central, said the government could also improve worker safety by having regular inspections of workplaces, producing reports based on findings and making them available to the public, as well as require offending companies to complete a corrective action plan.

But, he said, he didn’t hold out much “hope” for the new committee. “There are plenty of committees that have been formed,” he said. “But . . . the work of those committees is not effective.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia's cluster cases jump to 259

    The Ministry of Health on February 27 recorded 26 more cases of Covid-19 linked to the February 20 community transmission, bringing the total to 259 in one week. The 26 include three Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. The ministry noted that five of the Chinese