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Some 2,000 workers in crashes

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An accident involving garment workers in Kampong Speu province’s Phnom Sruoch district last year. SUPPLIED

Some 2,000 workers in crashes

Nearly two thousand factory workers were injured in almost 1,700 traffic accidents across the Kingdom last year, a report by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training’s National Social Security Fund (NSSF) revealed.

Published on Wednesday, the report said 1,894 workers were involved in traffic accidents. Of these, 40 were killed, 3,492 sustained serious injuries and 1,505 were slightly wounded.

Detailing the specific nature the 1,692 incidents, it said there were 1,565 motorbike accidents, 27 involving cars, 18 were workers’ lorry accidents and 12 involved tuk-tuks. There were also 19 bicycle accidents and 86 involving pedestrians. One factory worker was injured by a train.

The report said speeding excessively was the cause of 40 per cent of the accidents involving factory workers.

The report said 24 per cent of accidents were the result of careless overtaking, 17 per cent was due to the failure to respect the right of way, while technical issues accounted for 18 per cent.

NSSF policy bureau director Heng Sophanarith said the number of workers involved in traffic accidents decreased by 49 per cent compared to 2017.

The report said at least 2,109 workers fainted at 17 factories across the Kingdom during the period.

The figures were obtained by a working group conducting visits to research fainting cases in an attempt to find the cause and take measures to improve factory conditions, Sophanarith said.

He said five fewer factories had experienced worker faintings compared to 2017, but the number of workers who fainted had increased by 506 – a 32 per cent rise.

Most of the incidents began with only one or two workers fainting, Sophanarith said, but this caused others to become scared, leading to mass faintings.

NSSF director Ouk Samvithyea said at a conference on Tuesday outlining the results of last year that Cambodia’s economy continued to grow, including the garment and footwear sectors, with local and foreign investors contributing significantly. This, he said, created jobs throughout the country.

“In line with this development, the Royal Government has taken into consideration the health of workers – with numerous challenges being faced, such as work-related accidents, fainting and traffic accidents,” he said.

Cambodia Labour Confederation president Ath Thorn said the report showed the issues workers were still facing and needed to be resolved.

“Regardless of whether there has been a decrease or increase, the figure is not small. It is big, and alarmingly so. We have to take measures to reduce faintings and traffic fatalities,” he said.

Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour said the NSSF would increase education about traffic safety and cooperate with relevant parties to monitor technical issues involving vehicles because many accidents resulted from tyres exploding or defective steering.

With regard to factory faintings, he said: “It is important to provide good ventilation and properly store strong smelling raw materials.”

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