Labour Ministry officials met with members of Japan’s parliament and the International Labour Organisation to discuss a project aimed at improving safety standards in the construction sector on Thursday.
The first phase of the project was launched in 2014 and ended in 2017, and focused on the general labour sector.
The second phase is set to solely focus on the safety of workers in Cambodia’s growing construction industry.
“The Japanese agreed to commence the second phase of the health project aiming to increase work safety within the construction sector over the next three years,” said Leng Tong, director of the ministry’s health and safety department.
“We are going to push for more laws regulating safety,” Mr Tong said. “We are also planning to host more on-site training for construction workers and their employers.”
He said that the ministry has in recent years carried out on-site health and safety training for construction workers.
“We have trained construction workers in several cities and provinces such as Phnom Penh, Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang, Svay Rieng and Kampong Cham,” he said, noting that the ministry often has difficulty getting cooperation from employers.
He said cooperation between the Labour Ministry and its partners is needed in order to curb workplace accidents.
“The rate of accidents in the construction sector is high,” Mr Tong said. “Labour Minister Ith Samheng asked the ILO, the health minister, and the Japanese for help.”
He noted that construction workers in the Kingdom are in dire need of safety training. Mr Tong said that many lack knowledge to perform their daily tasks with safety in mind.
Sok Kin, president of the Building and Wood Workers Trade Union, said on Thursday that the Cambodian construction sector has grown.
“There are between 250,000 and 260,000 construction workers today, which is an increase in workers if compared to previous years,” Mr Kin said. “The labour conditions in the sector are not better than in other sectors because employers don’t pay much attention to the safety of construction workers. Construction workers are prone to injuries and most of their employers are not responsible when it comes to accidents.”
He said that training should be provided in order to curb the rate of work accidents on construction sites.
“Only a small amount of construction companies train their workers,” Mr Kin added. “There are about 80 to 90 percent who did not receive training.”