More Garment Workers Faint in Kandal Factory

At least 50 more garment workers at the Sixplus Industry factory in Kandal province fainted on Monday morning from what they described as a foul odor inside the building, two days after about 160 workers at the factory fainted in a similar incident.

Moeun Chanthy, who heads the sewing section for the factory, which makes sportswear for Adidas, said workers noticed the bad smell upon entering the building at about 7:30 a.m.

“When they entered the factory they said they still smelled that odor, so they told each other to leave,” she said. “They fainted outside the building.”

Ms. Chanthy said the workers described the smell as a kind of gas but also compared it to Endrin, a toxic insecticide used on crops including maize and rice as well as against grasshoppers and rodents.

She said about 50 workers fainted in total. One of them, Sren Sophat, said she was sent to a local health care center after falling ill.

“I vomited, cried and had a hard time breathing,” she said. “The smell was like a gas, bad, but it is hard to describe.”

Pok Vanthat, who chairs the Labor Ministry’s fainting research and prevention committee, visited the factory Monday. He said 69 workers had fainted but attributed it to the employees being “nervous” after Saturday’s faintings.

He said the factory would shut down until Thursday, however, to make general improvements.

“It has to cover up the drains, have a doctor and nurses at the factory and give the workers enough food,” Mr. Vanthat said. “The fans should be turned on a half-hour in advance [of the start of work].”

He said there had been a total of 894 reported faintings at 16 factories during the first six months of the year, down from the same period last year, although he did not have the exact 2013 figures at hand.

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