Nearly 30 workers at the Baihong Cambodia lighting factory in Svay Rieng’s Svay Teab district fainted on Saturday, but officials found that it was because of their poor health, not because of any bad smell.
Pov Thong, a factory worker, said a colleague fainted at 9am then 26 workers followed.
“While they were working, workers smelled something bad in the factory,” she said. “They found it hard to breathe and then they fainted.”
Keo Roatha, chief of the provincial health department, said the workers were sent for treatment at Chi Pou referral hospital in Bavet city, noting that the mass fainting was caused by the first two fainting workers.
“Their weak health made them faint one after another. Right now, some of them have recovered and gone home from the hospital,” Mr Roatha said.
Provincial labour department director Has Bunthy said department officials went to the factory and found the environment was good.
He said the workers fainted due to their health.
“We examined the environment at the factory. The environment is in good condition, with good standards. It is cool. The workplace is not hot. They fainted due to their health,” he said, adding that most had left hospital. “After we heard that the workers fainted, the local authority and officials brought them to hospital for treatment. Now they are better. No one was in a serious condition or injured.”
The Labour Ministry recently revealed that more than 2,000 garment workers fainted across the Kingdom last year, a jump of more than 400 when compared to 2017, despite efforts by the government to improve factory conditions.
Pok Vanthat, chairman of the ministry’s fainting research and prevention committee, said in December that 2,055 workers fainted in 16 factories last year. In 2017, a total of 1,603 garment workers fainted in 22 factories.
Mr Vanthat said fainting incidents were attributed to the health of workers, chemicals used in garment factories, social problems, fear and high factory temperatures, among others.
“The Labour Ministry has issued announcements, directives and created regulations so that garment factory owners improve working conditions,” he said. “If they fail to comply, fainting incidents will keep happening.”