Approximately 100 garment workers fainted in a garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district Thursday after one worker became short of breath and fell to the floor, according to a factory official.
The mass fainting started at about 2:30 p.m. at the Woorie Garment factory, when one worker—who is believed to have been suffering from tetanus—fainted, according to Van Long, a staff supervisor at the factory. About eight additional workers around her then began to swoon, he added.
“After the coworkers saw her passing out, they started to freak out and faint—some shouted and passed out,” he said. “The shouting and yelling made other workers surrounding her panic.”
The factory manager then asked staff to get out of the building for fresh air, Mr. Long said. As workers were standing outside the building, those who had fainted were carried to three waiting ambulances with sirens blaring—a scene that caused another 100 workers to faint, he said.
“People heard the sound of the siren, then they started to faint gradually,” he said. “All of them were sent to different clinics nearby the factory.”
Dr. Seang Monivuth, who was treating workers at the Seang Monivuth Clinic, where about 50 of them were admitted, said he was unsure of the reason behind the mass fainting.
“I can’t really determine the reason for the fainting,” he said. “We are still treating them, giving them medicine and I.V. drips.”
Moeun Tola, head of the labor program of the Community Legal Education Center, said that poor living and working conditions made garment workers vulnerable to fainting.
“Food with no nutrition, long working hours, bad environment [and] they also do not have enough sleep. So when they see a person faint, it makes them pass out,” he said.