Mass fainting at Cambodia garment factory

[Above: Another mass fainting incident occurred in Phnom Penh on July 21 this year. The cause was unknown.] 

PHNOM PENH - Nearly 300 Cambodian workers had to be hospitalised after falling ill in a garment factory that supplies knitwear for retailer H&M, officials said Thursday.

Around 85 employees at the M&V International Manufacturing Ltd plant in the central province of Kampong Chhnang lost consciousness on Wednesday and had to receive medical treatment, deputy police chief Ly Vireak told AFP.

“Another 198 collapsed on Thursday,” he said.

He said all appeared to be recovering, and the reason behind the fainting spell was being investigated.

Mass faintings occasionally happen in Cambodian factories and are mostly blamed on workers’ poor health, bad ventilation in the workplace or exposure to dangerous chemicals.

Free Trade union leader Chea Mony told AFP that many workers at the plant, which employs more than 4,600 people, had complained about “a funny smell” before collapsing.

According to its website, M&V has factories in China and Cambodia and its other customers include top brands such as Topshop, Benetton and Next.

The garment industry is a key source of foreign income for Cambodia and employs more than 300,000 workers, mostly women.