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Campaign seeks road safety measures for garment workers

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
A truck transports garment factory workers on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. KT/Siv Channa

Asia Injury Prevention Foundation, The Solidarity Centre and US Agency for International Development is set to launch a three-year campaign to facilitate road safety of garment workers from 30 factories in select provinces.

A statement released yesterday said the initiative will be advocating for the creation and implementation of a road safety policy and overseeing the enforcement of traffic safety measures for workers of factories based in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal and Kampong Speu from 2020 to 2022.

A survey conducted earlier this year by the AIP Foundation in five factories revealed 90 percent of the respondents fear being involved in traffic accidents while 28 percent are apprehensive about the often-overloaded trucks they take when travelling to and from work.

As such, the programme is committed to educating truck drivers on safe driving practices, such as defensive driving and risk assessment, as well as cautioning workers against going beyond the recommended seating capacity of the trucks.

“Brands who are members of the Transportation Working Group play an important role in this program by collaborating with stakeholders on an industry-wide challenge. They also work with factories in their supply chain and support their participation in this program and implement measures to improve commuting safety for their workers,” said Sara Park, Program Manager of Better Factories Cambodia.

Min Meanvy, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Public Work and Transport and Secretary General of the National Road Safety Committee said that “I support the program that saves many lives of workers who are part of the backbone of the country’s economy. Even though we have tried a lot of efforts to deal with this situation, more contribution is still needed to promote workers’ safe access to economic opportunities and improve workers’ commuting safety.”

“To ensure workers can get to work and home again safely relies on the commitment and support, of all stakeholders. Collaboration is crucial to the program’s success and sustainability of safety interventions,” said William Conklin, Country Program Director of the Solidarity Center.

A report from the National Social Security Fund showed as of last year, 1,554 traffic accidents involving garment workers occurred, killing 50 and injuring 2,000 others. More than 92 percent of the accidents were caused by motorbikes and about three percent by trucks.

Thirty-seven percent of the accidents resulted from driving beyond the speed limit, 23 percent from disregarding traffic regulations while the remaining accidents were caused by mechanical failure and poor road conditions.

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