Boiler explosion leaves two dead

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Resue and emergency workers at the scene of the blast. Supplied

A gas-fueled kiln, which was heating water to steam-iron clothes, exploded at a shirt-printing facility on Saturday in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, killing two and injuring four others.
 
According to authorities, the facility had only recently opened and had yet to obtain the appropriate documentations to operate the industrial steam iron.
 
The explosion killed a security guard at the scene while another woman, who was injured in the blast, died later at a hospital.
 
Four workers sustained minor injuries.
 
“Police are searching for the worker who we suspect was operating the steamer. After the incident, the worker fled the scene so I couldn’t get the suspect’s name,” deputy district police chief Hour Meng Vang said.
 
He added that the gas kiln likely exploded as it was incorrectly set up or because the water inside had already dried up, causing a blast.
 
He stopped short of saying, however, if the shirt printing facility was legal, despite acknowledging that they were operating without the appropriate documentation.
 
District governor Pich Keomony and Labor Ministry spokesperson Heng Sour could not be reached for comment.
 
One of victims was identified as 65-year-old Kong Phany, who worked as an assistant and Mandarin translator. Ms. Phany’s son said she sustained severe injuries to her head and leg in the explosion.
 
Doctors were unable to revive her once she arrived at the hospital due to the severity of her injuries.
 
“Authorities, please check all factories under your jurisdiction to avoid this kind of neglect which can kill people like my mother. Please find justice for us,” Houn Sambo said through tears.
 
Collective Union of Movement of Workers president Pav Sina said the explosion was likely caused by negligent employers who did not inspect their steam irons to ensure they met all the technical specifications.
 
“I’ve seen this problem of steamers exploding happening repeatedly, even though the Labor Ministry has issued an announcement to all employers to comply with the technical standards,” he said.
 
He urged the ministry to inspect all factories with these industrial steamers to ensure they are up to standard and to punish employers who were using machines which did not comply by either suspending or closing down their businesses.
 
A similar explosion happened at a garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district last month, killing one and injuring seven.
 
This prompted the Labor Ministry to urge all factories to inspect their industrial steam irons to ensure they were up to industry safety standards.

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