Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Construction unsafe for children and families



Construction unsafe for children and families

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Stephen Bradley during one of his site supervisions. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Construction unsafe for children and families

Letter to the editor

I read the recent article in the Phnom Penh Post’s Property edition entitled “Making every construction site child-safe and free of child labour”, and I was very interested to read about the ‘ChildSafe’ certification scheme.

I see this as a very important issue, and support the initiative of the ‘ChildSafe’ scheme.

The current lack of regulation and enforcement of existing legislation governing the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) aspects of construction in Cambodia, allows construction companies and contractors to implement working conditions which place the construction workers and others at unnecessary risk.

The use of child labour as mentioned in the recent article is one element to this. However, another important issue is the situation where entire families are permitted to live and work in unsafe conditions on working sites.

As well as the obvious dangers present from allowing this to happen, such as children falling from scaffolds, or walking in areas where loose materials are stacked dangerously etc, there are the unseen dangers to the families’ general health – both at the current time and in the future.

In another, more detrimental long-term aspect, on construction sites there is always the potential danger of exposure to toxic chemicals, gases, vapours and even dust particles such as “silica dust”.

Exposure to these hazards can lead to short term health problems such as dizziness and contact dermatitis, but in many cases can also lead to long-term health problems such as cancer and liver damage.

In terms of overall safety and health in construction, Cambodia currently lacks clear national minimum standards and regulations in these areas.

The ministries responsible for producing these standards are making progress, and some of the more professional Cambodian construction companies are actively implementing internationally recognized “Best Practices”; however, there is still a long way to go.

I am currently in discussion with the responsible ministries to see how I can assist and support their efforts to introduce clear standards in this field, and also how to conduct professional monitoring of the implementation of these standards.

At present, CARE Cambodia is implementing an important project called “Labour Rights for Female Construction Workers”, and this project includes construction health and safety issues.

I have had discussions with CARE regarding health and safety training for labour inspectors from the Ministry of Labour.

In addition, I am in tentative discussions with the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUPC) on how to develop national standards in construction safety, and how best to monitor their implementation and company adherence to standards.

I would encourage any company or organisation funding construction projects in Cambodia to insist on the use of “Best Practice” in regard to these issues.

Best Regards
Stephen Bradley
Managing Director
Bradley and Associates Co Ltd (Cambodia)

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Takeo hand-woven silk items provide local high-quality alternative to imports

    After graduating from university and beginning her career as a civil servant at the the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Khieu Sina found time to establish a business that aligns with her true passion – quality hand-woven Khmer goods. Her product line, known as Banteay Srei,

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,