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Senior Ministry of Labor Official Nearly 400 Factory Workers' Trucks Converted into Safe Vehicles

PHNOM PENH: The Secretary of State of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, Sum Sophoan, said that there are 396 trucks transporting workers in the garment and footwear sector, which have been converted into safer vehicles. Access to buses was still not high due to the economic factors related to drivers, passengers and stakeholders.

Speaking at a seminar on improving traffic safety for Cambodian workers through video conference on Monday, 28 February, the Secretary of State confirmed that the Ministry of Labor has supported the change of unsafe vehicles carrying workers to become safe vehicles, but this factor requires the consideration of all stakeholders, including the public, private sector, civil society, development partners and the participation of drivers and workers. According to Choeun Sothoun, the Director of Administration of 7NG Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Vihear Sour Commune, Khsach Kandal District, Kandal Province (which has 11 factories and a total of more than 80,000 workers), 250 buses were used as a means of transportation for workers to travel to work - this is a major change from unsafe trucks to much safer transport vehicles.

However, the Executive Director of the Asian Injury Prevention Foundation, Kim Panha, requested the Royal Government, especially the National Road Safety Committee and the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, to examine the possibility of guiding and setting up factories and enterprises across the country, policies or internal regulations on road traffic safety at the factory level, and activities on a regular basis, as well as providing appropriate technical support to factories to implement their policies and activities. He said that improving traffic safety for workers or protecting workers is an important contribution to the provision of labor and income for the growth of factories, enterprises, families, communities and the national economy because traffic accidents lead to the loss of benefits, and loss for the Government, factories, stakeholders in industry and society as a whole.

According to a report from the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) conducted in 2020, of the nearly 4,000 vehicles used to transport workers to and from work, approximately 60% are trucks that have a long service life and are obsolete. According to the report, although most of the accidents occurred with workers traveling on their own motorcycles, the workers who were traveling in these communal vehicles continued to suffer from travelling to work. On average, there was at least one such accident on a truck carrying workers on a monthly basis, causing dozens of workers to suffer minor injuries in each case and in some cases to the point of many death or disability.

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