Labour Minister Ith Samheng has announced that his ministry will begin to fine factories lacking a medical facility to treat sick employees in a bid to further prevent cases of fainting among garment factory workers.
Mr Samheng said yesterday during the official launch of The Second Occupational Safety and Health Master Plan for 2018 to 2022 in Phnom Penh that 88 percent of factories have managed to build infirmaries, adding that the ministry requires all factories across the country to have one.
“The ministry has its inspection group and if those remaining factories do not build infirmaries then they will face fines,” he said, adding that the measure is an attempt to reduce the number of factory faintings. “We are still worried even if the numbers are down because it still happens, so that’s why we need to find a solution.”
According to a Labour Ministry report published yesterday, only 33 percent of factories have designated canteens, 21 percent have lactation rooms for breastfeeding and only 28 percent have nurseries.
Guidelines set by the Labour Ministry under the Establishment of Enterprise Infirmaries say that every factory must have an accessible medical station away from noise, garbage, dust, smoke and foul smells.
The infirmary is required to be staffed by a physician and a nurse, depending on the number of workers at the factory. It must include medicines and bandages and an area to treat injuries before patients are transported to hospital.
Sho Sudo, chief technical adviser with the International Labour Organisation, said that the he supports the ministry’s effort in trying to reduce the number of faintings that occur on factory floors.
“We hope that this plan can ensure the safety of workers,” Mr Sudo said.
Choun Mom Thol, president of the Cambodia Union Federation, said that an infirmary at every factory could mean the difference between life and death.
“When a factory has an infirmary, workers could get treated first before being sent to hospital,” Mr Mom Thol said. “So it’s very important to have one in the workplace.”
According to a Labour Ministry report, the number of faintings in 2017 decreased by 28 percent when compared to 2016.