The Launch Event of the Life and Building Safety Initiative in Cambodia
LABS (Life and Building Safety) launched in Cambodia Wednesday morning at a special event co-organised by EuoroCham at Raffles Hotel Le Royal.
The forward-thinking initiative developed by IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative, aims to improve worker safety in the apparel and footwear industry by assessing and resolving structural, electrical, and fire hazards in Cambodian factories.
The LABS team, headed by country manager Emerald Am, said fires posed the biggest threat, with the main culprit being faulty and unmaintained electrical work. The main goals of the initiative are to prevent building collapses, ensure there are proper escape routes in case of a fire, and reduce electrical hazards by monitoring and updating terminals.
H.E. Hong Choeun, the secretary of state at the Ministry Of Labour And Vocational Training, gave the keynote address at the luncheon and supported the initiative, saying there was work to be done in shifting mindsets in the industry to prioritise safety in the workplace.
H.E. Chann Sorphal, the director-general of the Department of Construction at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Cambodia, and H.E. Chan Sopha, the director general of the Institute of Standards of Cambodia, also expressed their support for the programme.
Sorphal said international standards and inspection mechanisms needed to be implemented to ensure safe workplaces in factories.
Kyle Bogler, the senior director of sustainable operations at VF Global, said a current lack of building codes in the country made it hard for factories to stay in compliance with safety protocols and that LABS could help solve this use.
LABS contracted Archetype Group Cambodia, a private construction consultancy headed by Michel Cassagnes, to draft a set of national building safety standards for Cambodia. Cassagnes also serves as Chairman of EuroCham’s Real Estate and Construction Committee.