Three More Women Faint as Factory Reopens

The Labor Ministry official in charge of garment factory faintings declared Wednesday’s reopening of a Svay Rieng province factory—where 100 workers fainted in the past week due to chemical fumes—a relative success, with only three more women collapsing while working.

The Taiwanese-owned You Li In­ternational factory was ordered shut after mass faintings on Friday and Monday, but was allowed to open on Wednesday on the condition that it improved ventilation.

Collective Union of Movement of Workers factory representative Pum Sokunthea said 10 additional fans were installed in the garment factory and that management had ensured its toilets—a source of fumes—were cleaned as promised.

“This morning we had three female workers continue fainting, but they were sent back to the hospital,” Mr. Sokunthea said by telephone Wednesday. “Today the situation was better than before.

“We had informed the factory of some problems before, but they never listened to us,” he said. “If they fixed the problem before, maybe there would not have been any problems occurring [now].”

Pok Vanthat, the chairman of the Labor Ministry’s fainting re­search and prevention committee, said the significant reduction Wednesday in the number of wom­en fainting from the fumes was a welcome improvement.

“Today, most of the problems were fixed,” he said, adding that he believed the Bavet City factory should be given leeway. “That zone is still developing, so the safety of the factory is still limited.”

“We ordered the factory to add more fans, expand the factory’s windows to get fresh air and fix the toilets by installing ventilation,” Mr. Vanthat said. “We asked the union officials that, if the factory does not fix any problems, please inform us.”

The ministry official said that every female worker who fainted would have the rest of the working week off with no salary reductions, and will then be expected to return to work on Monday.

“The workers who fainted will get to relax without their benefits cut, as they were in an occupational accident,” he said.

A representative of the factory declined to comment.

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