The Svay Rieng provincial police on Wednesday inspected 219 garment worker transport vehicles in a bid to reduce the amount of traffic accidents in the province.
Unions have urged the authorities to pay closer attention to the safety of factory employees and increase the number of inspections, but provincial police chief Koeng Khorn told The Post on Thursday that the vehicles are checked regularly in certain target areas.
He said there had been several accidents involving trucks transporting factory workers. These had left many people dead or injured. Hence the technical inspections would continue to be carried out regularly.
“We not only carry out technical inspections but also instruct the drivers. We check if they have the correct driver’s licence and instruct them to observe the right of way and not to overtake dangerously. We always do it, we act like the drizzling rain,” he said.
On Wednesday, the provincial authorities carried out technical inspections on 219 trucks in 20 target areas in eight districts.
The drivers were made to sign a contract agreeing to install seats for workers, and the provincial authorities say the situation is improving.
Last year 3,492 factory workers were seriously injured, and 1,505 slightly wounded in 1,692 traffic accidents. Forty people lost their lives, said a report released on May 1 by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training’s National Social Security Fund.
Better Factories Cambodia (BFC), an NGO which is a collaboration between the UN’s International Labour Organisation and the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, said in a report last year that garment workers were at risk every day due to inexperienced and dangerous road users, unsafe and overloaded vehicles, increasingly heavy traffic and poor infrastructure.
Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions president Yang Sophorn applauded the increased inspections, but said the policy in itself could not prevent all traffic accidents involving factory workers.
She urged the government, especially the police, to strengthen preventive measures and do whatever was possible to ensure the implementation of the law is effective and correct.
“I would like to ask that inspections be carried out all the time, not just when problems have already happened.
“We acknowledge that there’s a requirement to pay vehicle tax, that there are checks made, and all citizens must have a driver’s license, but in truth, even when we do all that, does it have any effect?” she asked.