In yet another industrial garment industry accident to befall workers, today in Cambodia, the ceiling of a shoe factory that makes Asics sneakers (exported to the US and Europe), collapsed on workers–killing two people and injuring seven.
Further highlighting issues of the poor working conditions in apparel manufacturing factories in developing countries.
The garment industry is Cambodia’s biggest employer and export earner.
More than half a million people are employed in the industry, for which the minimum wage rose this month from $61 (£40) to $75 a month. Many of the factories make clothes for the US and European markets.
About 50 workers were inside a workroom of the factory south of Phnom Penh when the ceiling caved in, said police officer Khem Pannara. He said heavy iron equipment stored on a mezzanine above them appeared to have caused the collapse.
Rescuers picked through rubble for several hours and after clearing the site said that nobody else was trapped inside.
The accident comes just a little more than three weeks after one of deadliest industrial accidents in history occurred in a building housing five garment factories in Bangladesh crashed down on thousands of workers, killing 1,127 people.
“This shows that the problem is not only isolated to Bangladesh, and that companies (elsewhere) are trying to drive prices down by taking shortcuts on workers’ safety,” said Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch.
An initial investigation showed the ceiling that collapsed Thursday was poorly built and lacked the proper building materials to support heavy weight, said Ou Sam Oun, governor of Kampong Speu province, where the factory is located.