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Ministry seeks ways to reduce road accidents involving garment workers

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times Share:
A truck loaded with workers overtakes a vehicle in Phnom Penh. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Labour Ministry is seeking ways to reduce traffic accidents involving garment workers as the number of death and injury remains high.

Speaking in a press conference at the Council of Ministers yesterday, Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour said that the number of garment workers, who died and sustained injuries due to traffic accidents, remains high.

“The National Social Security Fund has cooperated with relevant institutions and ministries to disseminate traffic law and continue to educate the truck drivers to drive carefully,” Mr Sour said.

The majority of the Kingdom’s 800,000 garment workers get to work every day in the back of flatbed trucks, which are often overloaded with up to 50 passengers.

Mr Sour said the NSSF has to ask truck drivers who have not yet gotten driving licences to attend traffic law sessions and then get exams to have ones.

He added vehicle inspection was very important to ensure safety for garment workers.

“We are continuing to pay more attention to this issue,” Mr Sour said, adding the respect for traffic law by truck drivers and their vehicle inspections are contributing to the reduction of traffic accidents involving garment workers.

For the last three years, NSSF has worked with relevant institutions, especially with traffic police and the Transport Ministry in getting truck drivers to understand traffic laws and vehicle inspections.

“The workers could also contribute to reducing traffic accidents as they should check the truck they ride on and observe their drivers if they are intoxicated,” Mr Sour said.

Kong Ratanak, director of Institute for Road Safety, said yesterday either the government or factory owners should have accommodation buildings for workers nearby their workplaces so they do not need to commute on the flatbed trucks every day.

“The government has just encouraged drivers to use buses to transport workers instead of using vans or trucks, but it does not oblige them to do so,” said Mr Ratanak. “I think to reduce traffic accidents involving garment workers is to reduce their commute.”

He said if accommodation is provided near their workplace, they will travel to their home once or twice a week, a move to reduce accidents.

“The government should also offer loans to truck drivers to buy buses with low interest or without interest so they can pay back little by little,” Mr Ratanak said.

According to the annual NSSF report issued last month, 1,554 traffic accidents involving garment workers occurred in 2019, a decrease of nine percent compared with 1,710 cases in 2018.

It said 50 garment workers died and 2,000 sustained injuries in traffic accidents in 2019, while in 2018, 42 died and 2,006 were injured.

 

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