2016 World Day for Safety and Health at Work: ILO-BFC and MoLVT joint effort to address workplace stress

Today, workers all over the world are facing significant pressure to meet the demands of modern working life. Work-related stress is now generally acknowledged as a global issue affecting all countries, all professions and all workers both in developed and developing countries. This is according to a new ILO study entitled “Workplace Stress: A Collective Challenge”.


BFC Programme Manager Esther Germans addressing on her speeches on workplace stress to approximately 1,300 workers at Roo Hsing Garment Co Ltd.

The study demonstrates that high levels of stress directly impact productivity of enterprises since they are associated with increased absenteeism and turnover, reduced motivation, higher staff turnover and reduced efficiency. The workplace factors that can cause stress are called psychosocial hazards.

Every year, approximately two million workers lose their lives through accidents and occupational diseases related to their work. In addition, there are 270 million occupational accidents and 160 million occupational diseases each year, incurring US$ 2.8 trillion in costs for lost working time and expenses for treatment, compensation and rehabilitation.

For Cambodia, according to the National Social Security Fund in 2015, 181 workers died as a result of work-related accidents, costing approximately US$ 3 million for treatment, compensation and rehabilitation. There were 2,073 incidents of workers fainting and one of the main reasons for the fainting was psychosocial hazards.

The theme of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work this year is “Workplace Stress: A collective challenge”. In Cambodia, the ILO-BFC in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MoLVT) organised this event to create greater awareness on the collective challenge around stress at the workplace. The event was held on 09 May 2016 at Roo Hsing Garment Co., Ltd.

Hundreds of white T-shirts, caps, banners and a comedy show were designed to spread a wider occupational safety and health message to workers, employers and other relevant stakeholders.

In front of representatives of the government, employers, trade unions and hundreds of factory workers, Ms. Esther Germans, Programme Manager of Better Factories Cambodia (BFC), said workplace stress can be caused by many factors, including insecurity about job stability, workload, long working hours and conflict at the workplace. She added that high levels of stress can eventually lead to suicide.

To address this issue, Ms. Germans suggested that “we need to collectively ensure that labour law and safety at the workplace are correctly implemented. Additionally, improving a good relationship between workers and management in respecting the rules and talk in good faith is also needed”.

The BFC Programme Manager believes that a social dialogue between the tripartite parties is necessary to ensure safe, profitable and respected workplaces throughout Cambodia.

Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng expressed his appreciation on the collaboration between BFC and MoLVT with respect to strengthening labour inspections and improving working conditions in garment factories. The MoLVT also continues its effort and law enforcement and an effective conciliation mechanism with all partners and relevant stakeholders in order to prevent and protect work-related accident at workplace and enterprises. The Minister added that solidarity and high commitment from key tripartite such as government, employer and employee are necessary.

This is the 11th celebration of the World Day for Occupational Safety and Health. The first event was conducted in 2006.

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