The Labour Ministry has announced that all factories across the country must have their own infirmary completed by the end of this year, noting that 88 percent of factories having built infirmaries already.
Labour Minister Ith Samheng said on Monday that according to the Labour Law, all factories must have an infirmary, a place for eating food, a room for breastfeeding and a nursery room.
“Presently, 88 percent of a total of 1,200 enterprises already have infirmaries, 33 percent have a place to eat, 21 percent have rooms for breastfeeding and 28 percent have nursery rooms,” said Mr Samheng, adding that it really helped the workers’ welfare.
Speaking to more than 1,100 workers, union and employer representatives, and officials from the International Labour Organisation, Mr Samheng announced to all participants that the ministry will push all factories to complete construction of their infirmaries.
“I want to tell you all that for the year 2018, the ministry will push all factories to increase and improve this service, especially to have 100 percent completion by all factories in the country,” he said. “Inspectors from the occupational health and safety department have to check with the factory to ensure they have an infirmary in order to help and check the health of our workers.”
Kaing Monika, deputy secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, welcomed the move by the Labour Ministry, saying it has been working very closely with all its members to encourage them to set up infirmaries to give their workers better access to healthcare.
“It’s the law and we encourage our members to comply accordingly. We hope that the rest of the factories will be able to sort out their respective challenge in terms of space,” he said.
“Any newly opened factories joining GMAC as members always receive proper legal consultation from a legal officer in the area of Labour Law compliance.”
According to the Guidelines for the Establishment of Enterprise Infirmaries, the infirmary must be located near the workplace with easy access for patients, have sufficient light and a good atmosphere, and be far away from workplace noise, garbage, dust, smoke and foul smells.
The infirmary shall be run by a physician and assisted by one or more nurses, based on the number of workers.
When there are more than 200 workers, the infirmary must include, in addition to medicines and bandages, areas for hospitalising the injured or sick before they are transferred to a hospital.
Chuon Mom Thol, president of the Cambodian Union Federation, suggested to all workers to report about health and safety issues at their respective workplaces to labour inspectors from the Labour Ministry and provincial labour department.
“They have to assist the ministry in reporting about any challenges at their workplace and also have to closely cooperate with company or industry employers to improve health and safety at the workplace,” said Mr Mom Thol.
In March, Mr Samheng suggested to recently graduated doctors that they should apply for work in factory infirmaries following a government push for garment factories to take better care of their workers.
He said that some doctors who just graduated did not have jobs yet so they could come to work at an infirmary.
“Not all doctors who have just graduated are employed, so I appeal to some of them to work at an infirmary to help the workers at their workplace,” he said during a graduation ceremony for 500 medical doctors at the International University in Phnom Penh.