A construction worker in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district was killed on Wednesday after a wall where he was working collapsed, local news has reported.
This latest accident highlights the hazards those working in the industry face. And a union head has pointed out that many accident victims have not been covered by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
Sok Kin, the president of the Building Woods Workers Trade Unions of Cambodia (BWTUC), told The Post: “Construction workers are at a high risk of work-related accidents compared to other sectors, but many do not receive compensation from the National Social Security Fund as they are not registered with it.”
The deputy director of the NSSF, Sum Sophorn, said it was important for workers to ascertain if their employers had registered them for the NSSF.
“We encourage employers to register for the NSSF at the Ministry of Labour. So far over 500 companies have registered.
“If workers get the NSSF card, they will get free treatment at the hospital even if they are informal workers, but their employers must register them,” Sophorn said.
The NSSF will provide registered workers with compensation for accidents in the workplace, Sophorn said.
But unregistered workers can still ask for compensation after industrial accidents.
Kin said the BWTUC had intervened in cases where victims’ families did not receive compensation, but it pressed the employers to provide some.
“Sometimes the compensation is very little, even when workers have died in the workplace. Employers often just give whatever amount they wish.
“We don’t have accurate figures or official statistics from the government on how many construction workers have died or been injured in accidents, but the BWTUC conducted a survey in mid-2017 that found that of 1,010 workers, 196 had suffered injuries. This represented 19 percent of the sample pool,” Kin said.
Khun Tharo, a program coordinator at labour rights NGO Central, said workers who had accidents in the workplace were often unable to get full compensation as per the law, and sometimes employers refused to pay up.
“Construction workers who are informal are among the most vulnerable to industrial accidents and injuries, and lack any form of social protection,” he said.