ILO-BFC responds to Top World factory collapse, expresses sympathy for injured workers

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia– News reports indicate that Monday, May 20th an external structure at the Top World Factory collapsed, injuring approximately 23 workers who were eating lunch in the space. Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) extends their sympathy to the injured workers, and will visit the factory, which is included in BFC’s monitoring program, and speak with workers and management in order to gather information on the cause of the collapse and assess further concerns regarding building safety.

Based on current information, we understand that the incident occurred in a gazebo located away from the production area, on a small lake. The area had in the past been suggested as a child care site, however, based on workers’ concerns and BFC advice that it was not safe for such purposes due to its location; management had converted the space to a storage facility. Recent monitoring visits to this factory show that the structure was being used for storage.

This accident, as well as the collapse last Thursday at Wing Star Shoes (not a BFC participant), underscore the need for comprehensive building safety plans and implementation. Better Work and Better Factories Cambodia are discussing possible new assessment criteria regarding construction permits, including permits that cover all structures and any additions. Government inspectors, factory owners and managers, buyers, worker representatives and workers must each do their part to create an environment that reduces risk and ensures the security of all.

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