The Labor Advisory Committee agreed Tuesday to approve two new Ministry of Labor directives that will regulate the amount of weight workers will be allowed to lift and the quality of the air around them.
The committee, made up of union, management and government leaders in the labor sector, quietly debated a few of the items in the two directives, but in the end passed them without many changes. It was the third time these directives have been debated.
Union leaders disagreed with some of the articles in both of the directives, but were ultimately outvoted by the majority of the 18-member committee.
The first directive defines weight limits for workers by age and sex. The new directive, which still must be signed by Minister of Labor Ith Sam Heng, aims to avoid accidents caused by pushing, lifting or other methods of transporting goods.
Women who are pregnant, new mothers, or those who recently have had an abortion or miscarriage should not be allowed to lift objects more than 5 kg for their first two months back to work, the directive states.
It also defines weight limits for boys and girls between 15 and 18, and for men and women. Categories vary depending on whether a worker is unassisted, using a one-wheeled cart, or a three- or four-wheeled cart.
Women older than 18 are allowed to carry 25 kg, 40 kg or 60 kg in the respective categories, which is half of what is allowed for men.
A girl between 15 and 18 is not allowed to lift or carry anything more than 6 kg unassisted, and she is not allowed to carry anything using one-wheeled equipment like a wheelbarrow. She can carry up to 24 kg with a three- or four-wheeled carriage.
Union leaders at Monday’s meeting urged lower weight limits, but were outvoted 5-13.
The second directive the committee passed aims to improve air quality in some workplaces. It calls for proper ventilation so that workers are not subject to harmful toxins or pollutants that would impede their work.
Tuesday’s meeting was quieter than other meetings held by the LAC. Heated debate arose in previous meetings over whether pregnant women should receive the same workloads as women with abortions or miscarriages.