More than 120 garment workers fainted at a factory in Koh Kong province this morning, with authorities attributing the cause to fumes from a bulldozer operating outside the factory.
Heng Samedy, a representative for Thai-owned KKN Apparel Co Ltd, said workers began fainting around 8:30am after the smell of fuel from a nearby bulldozer wafted into the production area.
However, Heng said, “It’s not 100 percent about the smell coming in. Sometimes in Cambodia, when people see other people faint, they also feel a little unconscious or shocked and then they faint too."
The factory, which produces Adidas sportswear, is located in Koh Kong Special Economic Zone and employs roughly 5,500 workers, according to the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia.
Hai Lai Sun, chief of Koh Kong Provincial Referral Hospital, said 127 workers were brought to the hospital but that all regained consciousness by early afternoon.
“When it has that much of a smell, it will affect people,” Lai Sun said. “So people started fainting by four or five people, then continue to the large numbers.”
Mil Say, 42, the husband of a garment worker who fainted, said the hospital was crowded.
“She’s waking up now,” Say said. “There are many people in here as well.”
Samedy said the factory gave the day off to workers who fainted or feel unwell. The company is preparing to issue an official report, he said.