Sustainable trade organization to host workers-safety forum in Phnom Penh

Cambodia Investment Review

IDH the Sustainable Trade Initiative is organizing a public launch of its Life and Building Safety (LABS) initiative on May 18 in Phnom Penh at Raffles Hotel. IDH brings together over 600 companies and governments to drive new sustainable production and trade models in emerging economies.

The LABS Initiative promotes safer working conditions for factory workers in the apparel, footwear, and accessories industry by assessing factories and providing a framework for their monitoring, mitigating, and remediating.

Cambodia does not yet have a universal building and construction code with inspections by international standards voluntarily. The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction has previously stated it is working on developing a code.

To read more about the ‘Speak Up’ campaign that says factories must invest more in the safe transport of workers click here.

In 2019 the Cambodian government introduced the National Standard Book on Fire Safety Systems – Building Design Code. The code applies to the construction of new buildings as well as to extensions and the refurbishment of existing buildings.

Sustainable trade
There are not universal standards for safety wear in Cambodian factories.

LABS has been operational in India and Vietnam since 2019, where over 572,000 workers have benefitted from the program. Expanding into Cambodia aligns with the program’s ambition to mitigate preventable fire, electrical, and structural building safety risks in key production countries in the sector.

The LABS Standards and Methodology are based on international best practices and codes, including, but not limited to the International Building Code and National Building Code of Cambodia.

The participants at the launch event will include industry associations, civil society organizations (CSOs), NGOs, governments and educational institutes.

Cambodia’ relies heavily on its manufacturing sector accounting for approximately 30 percent of the overall economy.

According to Minister of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation there are 1,879 large-scale factories in operation employing 986,677 people of which 76 percent of female and manufactured $7.4 billion products of which more than $5.4 billion were exported.

Cambodia’s major trading partner countries for exports are the United States, Japan, European Union, China and United Kingdom and for imports China, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan and other regional neighbors.

To find out more about the LABS program:

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