A wave of “faintings” swept through the women working at the Indochine Apparel (Cambodia) in Kandal province’s Ksach Kandal district on Friday morning (March 22) without causing them severe harm.
The National Police reported that 84 female workers suffered from symptoms ranging from headaches and nausea, breathing difficulties and anxiety attacks, to loss of consciousness. The wave started around 7:30 am when the fumes from the welding of pipes outside the factory were carried inside by the wind.
Colonel Men Sokheoun, Ksach Kandal district police chief, said that local authorities, police, military police and factory officials rushed to get the women to the referral hospital.
Chab Yuthorn, chief of Ksach Kandal referral hospital, said that some workers could return to their homes quickly, while others required more attention. He can name no conclusive cause of the incident for lack of a properly equipped laboratory, but assumes that “They fainted due to lack of oxygen or the bad smell [i.e. fumes].”
Early this month, the Ministry of Labour, issued its annual report stating that more workers fainted in 2018 than in 2017. In ten factories 1,825 fainted, all but three of them women.
Minister of Labour, Ith Samheng, said that the faintings in garment factories occur due to factors such as too high temperatures, insufficient of oxygen, and chemical odours from clothes and he promises that “The ministry and the stakeholders will try to solve the issue for the workers.”