The Labor Ministry has unveiled nine measures it wants factories to implement in a bid to protect workers as
temperatures soar during the hot season.
According to the official announcement, manufacturers in the textile, garment and footwear industry must do more to stop employees from fainting and suffering ill health as a result of working under excessive temperatures.
Firms will be required to install and monitor proper ventilation systems, equip workspaces with thermometers to monitor temperatures and set up rooftop water cooling systems to reduce the heat.
They must also open windows and doors or put additional fans in the building when the weather is hot and provide sufficient clean drinking water to workers.
The ministry directive requires businesses to conduct regular checks of fire prevention systems and educate workers about health and safety procedures.
Factories that use flammable chemicals must prepare an emergency response protocol and keep dangerous substances in designated safe areas.
The Labor Ministry urged firms to implement the measures as a matter of priority.
But a garment worker who gave her name as Sotheary, 32, said her factory in Phnom Penh’s Mean Chey district regularly overheats.
Ms. Theary said: “The factory rarely cools the building with water. We bring in our own small fans to put near us and reduce the heat.”
She added that workers have asked the employer to install fans or do something about the heat, but their requests fall on deaf ears.
“I want the factory management to understand the difficulties workers face. We work hard for them, but the owners seem to pay little attention to us,” Ms. Sotheary said.
Man Seng Hak, the deputy president of the Free Trade Union, said the ministry’s announcement is nothing new and firms continue to ignore such regulations.
“This is just an announcement. Implementation will not be effective if the ministry do not conduct proper inspections and punish those who don’t comply,” he said.
He added that the ministry regularly issues directives to manufacturers, but workers continue to faint and suffer health problems.
Mr. Seng Hak urged the ministry to penalize factories that don’t protect workers, since too many ignore official orders to improve working environments.
In 2016, 1,160 garment and footwear factory workers at 18 factories fainted due to various factors including poor air quality and inhalation of chemicals.