More than 60 garment workers suffered serious and slight injuries when the trucks they were travelling in to their factories crashed on National Road 4 early yesterday morning in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nob district.
Ket Sopheak, a provincial deputy traffic police chief, said yesterday that 64 workers, 48 of whom were female, including six pregnant women, were seriously and slightly injured in the accidents.
Mr Sopheak said the traffic accident occurred because a truck loaded with ice tried to overtake the four garment trucks carrying 120 workers and ended up hitting them, leading to a domino effect and multiple crashes.
“One of the workers suffered a serious injury, while the other 63 were slightly injured,” he said. “The pregnant women were also slightly injured. Now they are receiving medical treatment.”
Mr Sopheak added that police caught the ice truck driver and identified him as Sieng Ren, 32 who is now being detained for questioning.
“The ice truck driver drove very fast and then crashed into the garment trucks,” Mr Sopheak said.
According to a Ministry of Labour statement released yesterday, officials from the National Social Security Fund in Sihanoukville cooperated with local authorities to send the injured workers to the provincial hospital and a clinic in Prey Nob district.
“All costs of treatment and transportation were paid by the NSSF,” it said.
Nearly all of the injured workers are being treated in Sihanoukville, while the one worker who was seriously injured has been transferred to Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh.
“The ministry is very sorry that the accident happened to the workers and the ministry hopes that they will get better soon and return to work,” the statement added.
Run Rathveasna, director of the department of public order at the Ministry of Interior, said the ministry was strictly enforcing traffic laws, but some drivers still violated the laws.
“Even with the ministry implementing the traffic law very strictly, traffic accidents still happen,” he said. “Related to traffic accidents with garment workers, the drivers of their trucks sometimes drive too quickly and must slow down.”
“Now our traffic police are very strict about the traffic law and we have also been educating the drivers who drive the trucks carrying garment workers,” he added.
Earlier this year, the Labour Ministry announced plans to launch a national policy to cut the number of traffic accidents involving garment workers being driven to and from factories. The policy will encourage employers and drivers to prioritise road safety.
According to an NSSF report, there were 1,691 cases of traffic accidents involving garment workers during 11 months of 2017. These accidents caused 33 deaths and 2,193 injuries.
This was less than the same period in 2016, during which 90 workers were killed and 6,328 injured.