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Health and Safety Standards

Explore workplace health and safety laws in Cambodia

Health and safety laws

The Labour Law of 1997 is the foundational legislation outlining employer and worker responsibilities for workplace health and safety in Cambodia. It specifically addresses workplace cleanliness & hygiene, safe machinery and equipment, provision of personal protective equipment (PPE), hazard prevention measures, and occupational illnesses.

Key Legislation

In addition to the Labour Law, Prakas (Ministerial Decrees) issued by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MLVT) provide specific, actionable regulations in various sectors. Some key examples include Prakas No. 264/16 on the Use of Personal Protection Equipment at Workplace (2016), Prakas No. 043/01 on the Measures of Using Machines and the Safety of Workers (2001), and Prakas No. 353/18 on Work-Related Accident Declaration Procedures (2018).

Employer Responsibilities

Employers in Cambodia have extensive duties under the law for ensuring worker health and safety. They must provide a safe and healthy workspace free of hazards that could cause injury or illness. Measures include adequate ventilation & lighting, safe storage & handling of chemicals, cleanliness & sanitation, and fire safety & emergency procedures.

Employers are also required to identify, analyze, and control workplace hazards. They must implement measures to prevent and minimize risks. Workers must be provided with clear training on safe working practices, hazards, and how to correctly use PPE. Employers must provide appropriate PPE to workers in hazardous jobs, free of charge. In certain industries or hazardous jobs, employers must arrange medical examinations at their own expense. Employers must accurately maintain records and report any work-related accidents or illnesses.

Employee Rights

The law outlines significant rights for workers in Cambodia related to their health and safety. Workers have the right to refuse work they deem an immediate danger to their health or life, without negative consequences. They have the right to be informed and consulted on health and safety matters in the workplace. Workers are entitled to compensation for work-related injuries or illnesses, covered by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).

Enforcement & Penalties

The MLVT is responsible for enforcing health and safety laws through workplace inspections and investigations. Employers violating health and safety laws may face warnings, fines, and even closure of their business in severe cases.

Limitations & Challenges

Despite the legal framework, significant challenges in enforcement persist in Cambodia. A substantial portion of work is informal, where health and safety regulations are harder to monitor. The Labour Inspectorate has capacity limitations, hindering thorough enforcement, especially in smaller or remote workplaces. Low awareness of occupational safety and health standards amongst both employers and workers remains a major challenge.

Occupational health and safety

Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) in Cambodia is governed by a set of key legislation and regulatory frameworks. The foundational legislation is the Labour Law (1997), which outlines employer responsibilities to provide a safe and healthy workplace, employees' rights regarding OHS, and general workplace safety provisions. Other important regulations include Sub-Decree No.37 on the Control of Chemicals and Hazardous Substances (2009) and numerous Prakas (Ministerial Regulations) issued by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MoLVT).

Responsible Agencies

The primary agency responsible for overseeing, regulating, and enforcing OHS is the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MoLVT). Within the MoLVT, the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) is directly responsible for OHS matters. The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) manages workplace injury and occupational disease compensation schemes.

Core OHS Standards

Employers in Cambodia are obliged to identify workplace hazards and assess risks to workers, implementing measures to eliminate or minimize those risks. They must also put in place appropriate safety measures such as providing and maintaining safe machinery, equipment, and workplaces, providing personal protective equipment (PPE) when necessary, ensuring proper ventilation, lighting, and sanitation, and implementing fire safety and emergency procedures.

Employers should also facilitate access to occupational health services for workers, including pre-employment and periodic health examinations, treatment of work-related injuries and illnesses, and health education and promotion programs. They must provide workers with OHS information and training and consult with workers on OHS matters, including the formation of OHS committees.

Challenges and Areas of Improvement

There are several challenges and areas of improvement in the field of OHS in Cambodia. Limited resources and capacity for labor inspection hinders strong enforcement of OHS regulations. The large informal economy in Cambodia poses challenges in applying and enforcing OHS standards. Additionally, some employers and workers may lack adequate awareness of OHS requirements and best practices.

Workplace inspection

Workplace inspections in Cambodia play a vital role in ensuring safe and healthy working conditions for workers. They enforce labor laws and regulations, identify and address hazards, promote prevention, and foster a safety culture.

Types of Inspections

There are three types of inspections in Cambodia:

  1. Regular Labor Inspections: These are conducted periodically with prior notice, focusing on compliance with labor laws, including Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) provisions.
  2. Special Labor Inspections: These are unannounced inspections in response to complaints, reported irregularities, or serious accidents.
  3. Self-Declared Labor Inspections: Introduced in 2022, these inspections require enterprises to undertake a self-assessment of their compliance with labor regulations twice a year through the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training's (MLVT) online system.

Inspection Criteria and Priorities

Workplace inspections in Cambodia cover a range of key criteria mandated by law and relevant guidelines. These include general working conditions, occupational safety and health, protection of vulnerable groups, and living conditions if provided by the employer.

Inspection Frequency

The frequency of workplace inspections in Cambodia varies depending on perceived risk levels, industry, and prior compliance history. Generally, inspections can occur at least once per year, and more frequently in high-risk workplaces.

Inspection Procedures

The inspection process involves pre-inspection preparation, an opening meeting, a walkthrough inspection, interviews and documentation review, a closing meeting, an inspection report, and a Corrective Action Order if serious violations are identified.

Follow-up Actions

After the inspection, employers must take necessary action to address violations within stipulated deadlines. Follow-up inspections are conducted to verify the implementation of corrective measures. Non-compliance can lead to warnings, fines, or even closure of a facility in severe cases.

Workplace accidents

In Cambodia, there are specific protocols in place to handle workplace accidents. These protocols are primarily governed by the Labour Law of Cambodia (1997) and the Law on Social Security Schemes for Persons Defined by the Provisions of the Labour Law (2002).

Reporting Workplace Accidents

According to Article 189 of the Labour Law, employers are required to report any workplace accidents to the Labour Inspector immediately. In the case of serious or fatal incidents, a detailed report must be submitted within 48 hours as per Article 208 of the Labour Law. The PraKas on Determination of Occupational Accidents, Occupational Diseases and its Reporting Procedures (2005) provides specific procedures and forms for accident reporting.

Investigation of Workplace Accidents

The Labour Inspector is authorized to investigate workplace accidents to determine causes and preventive measures as per Article 192 of the Labour Law. Employers are obligated to cooperate with investigations and preserve the accident scene to the extent possible. Worker representatives also have the right to participate in the investigation process.

Compensation for Workplace Accidents

The Law on Social Security Schemes for Persons Defined by the Provisions of the Labour Law establishes the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), which is responsible for administering worker compensation. The types of compensation include temporary disability (medical expenses, wage replacement benefits), permanent disability (lump sum payment or pension, depending on the severity of the disability), and death benefits (funeral costs and payments to dependents).

Compensation Claim Procedures

The employer must submit an initial report to the NSSF within the stipulated timeframe. An NSSF-appointed doctor then carries out a medical assessment to determine the degree of disability. The NSSF makes a decision on the claim and calculates the corresponding compensation.

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