February 28, 2022
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – February 28, 2022
Around the world, the Covid-19 pandemic has drastically redefined working models across all sectors for each one of us. Many of us have the luxury of working from the comfort of our own homes, many can take safe public transportation to the office and some of us can even walk or ride a bicycle to work.
However, the reality for factory workers in Cambodia is very different. Thousands of workers continue to risk their lives to put food on the table for their families. Many of the vehicles they rely on for transport are under-maintained, unsafe, overcrowded. For workers who do not or cannot use collective transportation, the danger lies with inconsistent adherence to safety rules, hazardous drivers, and poor road infrastructure.
In 2020, road crashes among garment and footwear factory workers accounted for over 55% of the total commuting workers involved in road crashes. The high risks encountered on the road do not only impact the lives of workers, but also the lives of the 2 million family members they support.
These commuting risks are preventable. To address these dangers and work together to find solutions, AIP Foundation is hosting an annual workshop to share best practices and experiences on how we can improve commuting safety for Cambodian Workers as part of the Prevention and Participation program supported by VF Corporation. The workshop is further supported by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training and the National Road Safety Committee in Cambodia.
The objective of the workshop is to bring together stakeholders involved in the program implementation to promote ongoing dialogue. Representatives from factories, buyers/brands, trade unions, driver associations, Special Economic zones and national and sub-national will be invited to exchange about opportunities to collaborate. These stakeholders will identify possible actions and support factory level initiatives to address and act on specific commuting safety issues for Cambodian workers.
“This workshop provides a unique opportunity for everyone to share successful experiences for the transition from trucks to safer, seated, vehicles that are instrumental in moving forward for commuting safety for garment factory workers across Cambodia, “said Mr. Graham Cronshaw, Cambodia Country Director of VF Corporation.
AIP Foundation Cambodia staff will present on the Prevention and Participation program as well as the best practices criteria. The best practices criteria are based on four elements. The first is the transition to safer and seated trucks, the second is an implementation of a factory level road safety policy, the third criteria covers increasing factory workers knowledge and awareness and the final criteria is increasing helmet use.
“In order to find a solution to the dangers that garment and footwear factory workers face every day, we need the experiences and input from every stakeholder. Together, we can work to improve conditions and ensure that workers have a safe commute,” shared Kim Pagna, AIP Foundation Country Director for Cambodia.