Gov’t Says Workplace Injuries on the Rise, Reforms Needed

In the face of an increase in work-related injuries, government officials gathered in Phnom Penh on Tuesday to start work on a new plan to reduce workplace accidents and to reflect on their achievements over the past five years.

Almost 17,000 people were injured at work last year, about 2,600 more than in 2012, according to the National Social Security Fund.

The number, which relies on employers’ report, has also increased fourfold since the government launched its first Occupational Health and Safety Master Plan in 2009.

Despite the rise, officials were told that 80 percent of the plan’s targets had been met.

Leng Tong, director of the Labor Ministry’s occupational health department, said the list of achievements included enacting health and safety legislation, inspecting workplace and running health clinics for garment workers.

“Recently we have created an inter-ministry committee to prevent fainting of workers and another inter-ministry committee to check about safety in the factories,” he said. “If the factory does not reach standards we will set conditions for it to improve, and if it does not we will fine it or shut it down.”

In a presentation at the meeting, the Labor Ministry’s chief of statistics and external relations, Han Nopakun, admitted to some obstacles to protecting workers.

Chief among them, he said, were limited resources for inspections and a lack of laws and regulations in the construction industry.

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