Drilling firm condemned after death of two workers

The Building and Wood Workers’ Trade Union Federation of Cambodia (BWTUC) and the Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights (Central) on Tuesday urged the government to suspend the operations of a company conducting drilling operations at a mountain in Kampot after two employees were killed by falling rocks on Friday.

The two deceased employees were 31-year-old Kon Tal and 34-year-old Menh Ron.

BWTUC found that the company, Kampot (CK) Industrial Special Economic Zone, did not follow proper safety or other technical guidelines. In a joint press release, both organisations called for the company to be thoroughly inspected.

The company was contracted to provide materials for cement production by Thai Boon Roong Cement Co Ltd.

BWTUC vice-president Sou Chhlonh said on Wednesday that after the two workers were killed while drilling at a blasting site, his working group had conducted an inspection and found it lacking essential safety and technical standards.

“Workers at the explosion site didn’t wear uniforms or [protective] gear to protect themselves from hazards. This worksite poses dangerous risks to employees,” he said.

Central programme coordinator Khun Tharo said besides a lack of safety measures in the workplace, the company had not yet signed an agreement with the National Social Security Foundation (NSSF) under the Department or the Ministry of Labour, which would guarantee certain benefits to workers.

“Although the company has offered $35,000 compensation to the families of the victims, it has not registered with the NSSF, which means the families aren’t entitled to NSSF benefits provided under the Employment Law.

“In light of this company’s shortcomings, our team decided to request the related authorities to temporarily suspend its operations. We also request that the authorities effectively and transparently inspect its operations regularly.

“This company has to register with the NSSF immediately to ensure workers receive benefits according to the labour law,” he said.

Kampot provincial Labour and Vocational Training Department director Ung Por Heng told The Post on Wednesday that he sent experts to the worksite at the mountain after helping the victims’ families prepare the funerals.

“The company has already given $35,000 to each victim’s family and they did not ask for more,” he said.

Source: The Phnom Penh Post

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