Ministry of Labour calls for the establishment of infirmaries in enterprises

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Sam Heng​ gives a speech during the Sharing Experiences on the Establishment of Enterprise Infirmaries Workshop in the capital on Wednesday. Supplied

Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Sam Heng called on all owners of garment factories, enterprises and establishments to set up infirmaries in their workplaces under the prescribed guidelines. Fines would be imposed on employers who violate the order.

The call was made on Wednesday during the Sharing Experiences on the Establishment of Enterprise Infirmaries Workshop in the capital.

It was attended by nearly 200 participants from factories, enterprises, establishments, civil societies and government officials.

“Employers should establish infirmaries properly and correctly according to procedures and provisions prescribed in the Labour Law and relevant standard letters, especially joint prakas No 330 and 13.

“They need to ensure that infirmaries [in the] enterprises and establishments operate well with enough equipment, medicine and nurses working at regular hours,” Sam Heng said.

He said establishing the infirmaries would serve to guarantee the safety and health of all employees, and boost productivity, thus benefiting employers as well.

When employees have access to proper and timely healthcare, the labour force would be stronger and production plans would not be hampered, the minister said.

A report by the ministry’s Occupational Health and Safety Department revealed that last year, enterprises and establishments had set up 1,157 infirmaries, bandage rooms and emergency rooms. Of these, only around 70 met the ministry’s prescribed standards.

The department’s director Leng Tong said that legally, enterprises and establishments with 50 employees or more should have infirmaries, while enterprises with 20 to 49 workers should have bandage rooms.

Those employing less than 20 workers should have emergency rooms.

“The ministry is determined to ensure priority points in the checklist of labour inspection officials to fine [owners of] factories and enterprises that fail to abide by the legal provisions. Furthermore, if an institution fails to establish bandage rooms or emergency rooms, we will fine them,” Tong emphasised.

UNFPA assistant representative Tum May said relevant parties, especially the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, had been working together for three years to ensure the establishment of enterprise infirmaries.

He said that because more than 80 per cent of workers are women, having infirmaries, bandage rooms and rescue rooms at the workplace is vital. Workers’ needs and rights could not be ignored.

“The need to establish infirmaries at enterprises and establishments is to instruct [owners] so that they establish infirmaries effectively and efficiently. It is necessary to have guidelines in place to monitor infirmaries and make sure they are to standard,” said May.