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PM: Investigate fainting causes

Ven Rathavong / Khmer Times Share:
More than 1,600 factory workers fainted at 22 factories last year. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Prime Minister Hun Sen has called for an investigation into why workers and students faint in factories and schools.

Speaking at a meeting with workers in Phnom Penh yesterday, Mr Hun Sen said employees continued to faint at many factories as did students at some schools.

“We should expand our investigation about the phenomenon of people fainting,” he said. “We should study this phenomenon to find a solution.”

He said if the cause of mass fainting episodes was determined, prevention would be easier.

The number of garment workers who fainted in 2017 increased 38 percent if compared with 2016, with 22 factories hit by fainting incidents.

A total of 1,603 workers fainted in 2017, of which 1,599 were women, according to a report from the National Social Security Fund.

The report said the main reasons for workers fainting included pesticides being sprayed on nearby rice fields, strong chemical glues used in footwear factories, steam from boilers, poor environments around the factories, malnutrition, poor ventilation within the workplace, stress, and sometimes the belief in supernatural forces.

In December, more than 40 students at high schools in Ratanakkiri and Kampot provinces fainted. Last month, more than ten students at Bak Chenhchean senior high school in Pursat province’s Phnom Kravanh district fainted.

Mr Hun Sen wants experts from the Health Ministry and the World Health Organisation to work together to find the causes of the fainting.

“If we are lacking in capacity, we can find specialists from the health and labour ministries and WHO to help and find out why it happens in order to prevent the problem,” he said.

Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, supported the call for an investigation.

“There are many factors that cause fainting, such as health problems of workers and factory environments,” he said.

Mr Sina said the government should enhance factory inspections to ensure they follow standard environmental working conditions.

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