Authorities on Thursday ordered a halt to the construction of a high-rise building in Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district following the death of a 21-year-old worker at the site on Wednesday, an official from the Ministry of Land Management said.
Kaing Sinoeun, originally from Prey Veng province, was riding a construction elevator to the 15th floor of the half-built apartment building when it began malfunctioning.
Apparently spooked by the violent shaking of the lift, he tried to get off and died after hitting his head on a metal shaft.
Lao Tip Seiha, deputy director-general of the Land Management Ministry’s construction department, said authorities had ordered work at the site to be suspended until they deemed it safe to resume.
“We have asked them to delay construction and they cannot resume…until they have solved the problem,” he said. “We will check whether the construction site is safe or not.”
Mr. Tip Seiha said a businessman named Ly Huot was behind the development.
“It was carelessness of the owner of the building and the worker himself,” he added. “Now the ministry has instructed [Mr. Huot] to strengthen safety.”
At the construction site Thursday, dozens of workers lounged on makeshift beds as two others built a new door for the elevator.
“We are making it to make the lift safer,” said Seth, 26, a worker who declined to give his full name. “It’s to keep the stuff that we put inside from falling out to the ground. Our boss asked us to do it in order to make it safer for the workers.”
Another worker, Heng Sarath, 28, said Wednesday’s fatal accident was the first of its kind on the site.
“We have helmets, belts and boots,” he said. “[Kaing Sinoeun] was careless when he was working and therefore he got into an accident.”
Kaing Sinoeun’s aunt Thong Phalla, 45, said the family accepted 10 million riel, or about $2,500, in compensation from the owner of the building Thursday after he visited the family in Prey Veng province.
“It is not reasonable compensation but we have to take it,” she said. “We do not have money to confront the owner in court.”