More than 100 workers fainted at two factories yesterday morning in Kampong Speu and Kandal provinces, and were sent to the hospital for treatment.
Soeun Kea, president of the Free Trade Union at SHIMANO factory, said yesterday that 26 workers fainted at work that morning.
A new type of glue had been introduced to the footwear factory that day, which produced overwhelming fumes, he said.
“They were poisoned by the glue for [putting together] the shoes. First a worker fell to the ground because of difficulty breathing, and then other workers started to faint,” he said.
Kea said that factory officials helped to send the affected workers to the hospital for treatment.
“All workers were allowed to go home in order to avoid more workers fainting,” he said.
Chan Sophal, administrative manager at SHIMANO, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
At around the same time, about 120 workers at Crystal Martin (Cambodia) Limited, located in Kandal province’s Khsach Kandal district, fainted yesterday morning due to acid fumes leaking from a battery at their workplace.
Seang Phearum, a company representative at Crystal Martin, said they were sent to hospitals for treatment right away.
“Most of them fainted because they were frightened when they saw one worker fall, and started to go unconscious,” he said.
He went on to say that the workers had fully recovered at that point and would return to work today.
Yesterday’s faintings follow close on the heels of a government report touting the sector’s strides in preventing worker faintings.
According to a report released earlier this month by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), a Ministry of Labour subdivision, 823 incidents of workers fainting at footwear or garment factories were recorded last year. This was celebrated as a significant decrease, dropping by half, from 1,686 cases recorded by the government in 2012, and 1,973 in 2011.