Traffic accidents involving garment and footwear factory workers continue to pose a major problem in Cambodia, said the director of the Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation, Kim Pagna.
Pantha made the remarks on Tuesday at an “Improving traffic safety for Cambodian workers” workshop in Phnom Penh. Every day, traffic accidents cause many deaths and injuries. The accidents, he said, also bring hardships to the victims’ families.
“We can prevent and reduce this catastrophic danger if we are all involved in a common spirit and take joint-response measures,” said Pagna.
According to a National Social Security Fund (NSSF) report, in 2019 there were 698 road accidents involving garment and footwear workers, causing 15 deaths and 138 serious injuries.
Some of the injured workers were required to stay in hospital and at home for many days, while others were disabled and lost their ability to work. They became an additional burden for parents and siblings to take care of regularly, the report said.
NSSF policy bureau director Heng Sophanarith said although workers who were injured in traffic accidents received insurance from the NSSF, they still have to deal with the consequences of their injuries in their daily lives.
“Traffic accidents have left a tragic and devastating impact on the well-being of the family and economy. This is a serious challenge which no one ministry, institution or department can stop, reduce or eliminate on its own because it is a common problem for all of us,” he said.
A report by the Transportation Working Group – a group of brand representatives and development partners coordinated by Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) to support workers – said eight traffic accidents occurred involving worker-transportation trucks.
Two people died, 32 were seriously injured and 189 suffered minor injuries in the accidents.
Pamela Wharton, the deputy country programme director for the Cambodia Solidarity Centre, said workers face danger in a variety of ways every day when they travel to work at their factories. Some travel on collective vehicles that are not appropriate for passengers. They can be overcrowded and unsafe.
Wharton said many drivers in the same survey reported that they survive on a low income comparable to that earned by garment workers and are unable to afford vehicle improvements and maintenance.
They resort to overloading their vehicles to make a reasonable income.