Nearly 300 workers, including 11 pregnant women, fainted after a short circuit at a footwear factory in Kampong Cham’s Choeung Prey district on Friday.
District police officer Cheang Se said the workers suffered from breathing difficulties and overheating after the electrical fault disrupted the ventilators and fans at the Carlington sandal-making factory.
“At first, two or three workers became weak and fainted after all the ventilators and fans stopped working,” he said. “Then the others gradually started fainting, too.”
He added that the factory had now fixed the problem and working conditions were back to normal.
Kim Sulphirun, director of the provincial health department, said that 148 workers were sent to the district referral hospital and another 138 to the Batheay district referral hospital for treatment. He noted that all have since been discharged.
On July 12, more than 50 workers also fainted due to poor ventilation at the Juhui Footwear Co Ltd in the same district.
Earlier this month, labour rights group Central urged the Ministry of Labour to inspect the health, safety and working conditions of workers after more than 600 fainted at the Pontus Footwear factory in Tekeo province’s Tram Kak district.
The group asked the ministry to find the root cause of the incident and to check if the factory complied with regulations.
The NGO said mass fainting cases are extremely common in Cambodian factories due to the high working temperatures, poor ventilation and malnutrition stemming from low wages.
A recent National Social Security Fund report said that the number of garment workers who fainted in 2017 increased 38 percent compared with 2016, with 22 factories hit by fainting incidents.
The report said that 1,603 workers fainted while working in 2017, compared to 1,160 the year before.