Garment Workers Injured in Svay Rieng Crash

At least 86 garment workers were injured when the 3-ton truck in which they were traveling overturned on National Road 1 in Svay Rieng province Tuesday morning, police and health officials said.

A police official said the truck was carrying about 100 people when one of its front tires blew out, causing the driver—who subsequently fled the scene of the accident—to lose control of the vehicle and overturn.

“They were on their way to work in the special economic zone in Bavet City at about 6:15 a.m.,” said provincial traffic police chief Ouch Saran.

Ke Ratha, director of the provincial health department, said 86 workers were brought to the hospital for treatment, and 11 women among them were seriously injured. There had been three similar accidents in the province last year, he said.

“Eleven out of the 86 workers who were brought for treatment at the provincial hospital had serious bodily injuries,” he said, adding that five patients had broken hands, and one worker who suffered a serious head injury was being treated at Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital.

In November, seven people were killed and 17 others seriously injured when a cassava-filled truck, on which 27 workers were sitting, veered out of control and overturned in Kratie province.

In June, a minivan carrying 16 garment workers crashed into a Toll Royal Railway freight train in Kandal province, leaving 12 women injured.

Dave Welsh, country director for the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, said that employers and the government were liable in such cases.

“Liability begins when the workers leave their residences to get to the factory,” he said. “In theory…compensation schemes are in place. The deficiency is in practice. Are workers getting full compensation, and should [such accidents] be happening in the first place?”

(Additional reporting by Lauren Crothers)

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