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

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman

  • Cambodian women diving deep, going far

    There is a saying in Khmer that “women cannot dive deep or go far”. The meaning is that women should not stray too far from their traditional gender roles. But when Menno de Block, an entrepreneur from the Netherlands, took a good look around his