130 Cambodian workers faint after inhaling pesticides

Updated: 2011-10-25 13:44


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PHNOM PENH - At least 130 garment workers were admitted to hospitals on Monday afternoon after they fainted due to the inhalation of insecticide smell, a trade union chief and police confirmed Tuesday.

Chuon Mon Thol, President of Cambodia's Confederation of Trade Unions, said the incident occurred at Anful Garments Factory in Kampong Speu province's Samrong Tong district, some 50 kilometers, western Phnom Penh.

"The accident happened due to the carelessness of the factory' s management," he said. "They sprayed pesticides in the factory just a few hours before the workers entered the factory hall to work, so the smell caused them to fall ill," he said. "They had fatigue, dizziness and vomit."

He said that the factory has about 2,000 workers. However, only 130 workers were fainted and hospitalized according to the payment bills for the medical cost by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training.

Keo Pisei, the provincial police chief, confirmed Tuesday that the mass fainting was caused by the smell of pesticide and said  the victims are stable and some has left hospitals so far.

Mass fainting has subsequently occurred in some of garment factories due to poor health, bad working environment and exposure to dangerous chemical substance.

Garment industry represented more than 90 percent of Cambodia's total exports. The sector has 291 garment factories employing about 324,800 workers, according to the reports of the Ministry of Commerce.