Nearly 100 workers at a shoe factory in Kampong Speu province fainted during their shift Friday morning after a worker suspected of living with epilepsy had a seizure.
The provincial National Social Security Fund said seventy workers fainted at the Wing Star Shoes factory in Kong Pisey at 8.20am.
The NSSF sent a team of helpers to the factory to check on the workers and get them to health centres for treatment.
Kampong Speu provincial police said Yeng Sedim, a 34-year-old worker, suspected of having epilepsy, had a seizure.
Ms Sedim’s scream caused a mass panic, prompting workers to run, feeling dizzy and faint.
Khem Sophannra, district police chief, said factory security guards, district police and other local authorities helped send workers who were affected to a nearby clinic and hospital.
“Some workers who helped their fainting friends got sick as well due to exhaustion,” Mr Sophannara said. “Now they are all feeling better.”
In a report, the NSSF said 1,665 workers fainted in the first seven months of this year, while in 2017 in the same period, 1,603 fainted.
In May, NSSF director Ouk Samvithya said fainting on factory floors is caused by dizziness, breathing difficulty and anxiety.
“So all workers have to be insured by the Social Security for Health Insurance Scheme,” Mr Samvithya said. “Employers or factory owners have an obligation to send their workers to an infirmary or send them to centres that have an agreement with the NSSF.”
In July, labour rights group Central said mass fainting cases are extremely common in Cambodian factories due to the high working temperatures, poor ventilation and malnutrition stemming from low wages.
Article 229 of the Labour Law states that all establishments and work places must be set up in a manner which protects the health of workers. Two directives were also issued requiring employers to ensure working temperatures within all workplaces are reasonable. A violation of the article and the two directives is punishable by law.