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EuroCham boosts safety standards

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
European companies are working to boost construction site safety. KT/Chor Sokunthea

European companies are urging construction site owners to implement safety standards in a bid to reduce workplace accidents.

The call was made during a meeting hosted by the Club of Cambodian Journalists yesterday.

Michel Cassagnes, chairman of EuroCham’s real estate and construction committee, said more than two dozen European companies are operating in Cambodia’s real estate market.

Mr Cassagnes added that when compared to other countries in the region, such as China and Vietnam, Cambodia still lacks safety standards.

He noted that some construction cranes do not have strobe lights indicating its base and height.

“Some cranes do not have signs or any form of lighting,” he said. “It could be dangerous.”

Mr Cassagnes said construction workers should receive safety training on how to use construction machinery.

“Safety at construction sites cannot be negotiated,” he said. “The workers must be safe.”

Mr Cassagnes also acknowledged that the government has put in place measures to insure workers through the National Social Security Fund.

“The government is working a lot and is taking care of safety conditions at construction sites,” Mr Cassagnes said. “I appreciate this and I hope that the workers themselves will implement safety standards at their sites.”

Construction workers atop of scaffolding. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Marta Nevas Abrantes, trade assistant with the EU delegation to Cambodia, said more than 100 European companies are doing business in Cambodia and that the EU is working closely with the government to implement safety standards at construction sites.

“We are working with the Cambodian government to help improve safety,” Ms Abrantes said.

Tith Khemara, director of the Land Management Ministry’s construction department, said the ministry monitors construction sites and provides on-site training.

“Officials come to educate construction workers and train them on how to put on safety equipment,” Mr Khemara said. “We also remind them not to drink alcohol.”

CCJ president Pen Bona said that EU construction standards are very high and should be implemented in Cambodia.

“This is a chance for EU companies to give their experience to the public,” Mr Bona said.

Sok Kin, president of the Building and Wood Workers Trade Union, said up to 90 percent of construction workers have yet to receive safety training.

“The workers at construction sites need to take care because they are at risk,” Mr Kin said.

Last month, Labour Ministry officials discussed a project aimed to improve construction site safety standards with Japan’s parliament and the International Labour Organisation.

At the time, Japan agreed to commence the second phase of the project to increase the standard of safety at construction sites over the next three years.

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