Family of Factory Worker Killed On Job Agrees to Compensation

The family of a worker who was killed Friday in Phnom Penh in a workplace accident at a factory that supplies fashion giant H&M has accepted a payment from factory bosses and will not file a complaint with police, officials said.

Chea Saroeun, 35, died after a wood-chipper at the C Square Garment Finishing Co. Ltd. factory in Chroy Changva district malfunctioned, sending its metal cover flying across the room and hitting him in the head, according to Prek Liep commune police chief Meach Sary.

“The machine for grinding wood went wrong, so it caused the cover of the machine to fly toward him while he stood putting the wood into the machine about 3 meters from it,” said Mr. Sary. “[It] flew and hit his neck and he died immediately,” he added.

Commune chief Preap Mony blamed the death on a “careless person” whose job it is to oversee the machine and said the factory had paid $3,000 in compensation to Chea Saroeun’s family.

“[The family] did not file any complaint because the family acknowledged it is an accident. The family agreed with the factory; therefore, there was no complaint,” Mr. Mony said.

“It is a careless person who was in charge of the machine, because they knew it was broken but they still let people work on it,” he added.

Moeun Tola, a program director for the Community Legal Education Center, called on H&M both to compensate the victim’s family and to do more to protect the workers who produce its garments.

“H&M have to compensate for the family and also they need to improve the occupational system in their workplace. The boiler operator needs to be well trained and there needs to be enough personal protection equipment,” Mr. Tola said.

“The main problem is the prevention of these accidents; we don’t want to see the accidents happening again and again,” he said.

Representatives for the factory and H&M could not be reached for comment.

(Additional reporting by George Wright)

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