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Scores faint at Kampong Speu garment factory

Garment workers from Orient International Enterprise receive medical attention yesterday in Kampong Speu province after a mass fainting believed to be caused by pesticides. Photo supplied
Garment workers from Orient International Enterprise receive medical attention yesterday in Kampong Speu province after a mass fainting believed to be caused by pesticides. Photo supplied

Scores faint at Kampong Speu garment factory

More than 100 garment workers at the Orient International Enterprise factory in Kampong Speu’s Samrong Tong district fainted yesterday, blaming pesticides that had been sprayed by the company on Sunday.

Sean Rithy, chief of the Cambodia Youth Power Union League, said a total of 108 workers fainted and were sent to the provincial referral hospital to be treated. He added that fans were on and the windows had been open in the factory, but the fumes were still too strong.

“They were mostly women,” he said. “The factory sprayed pesticides in the factory to kill insects.”

As of yesterday afternoon, the workers hadn’t been discharged from hospital, Rithy said, adding that all those affected would be paid to stay home today while resting.

Srey Na, one of the workers who fainted, said she and other workers began to feel dizzy and sapped of energy after first encountering the smell. “And then I fainted,” she said. “I am better now at the hospital.”

A company representative acknowledged that the company had sprayed pesticides, but was unable to further comment. The Chinese-owned firm produces T-shirts, jackets, pants and skirts.

In 2015, there were a total of 1,806 workers in 32 factories who fainted in the garment and footwear sector, according to the Ministry of Labour. The number represented a 5.8 per cent decrease from 2014.

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