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Cambodian factory workers suffer mass faintings

Female workers in Cambodian factories supplying sportswear brands including Nike and Puma are suffering mass faintings as a result of excessive heat, it has been reported.

The Observer and Danish investigative media site Danwatch reported yesterday that more than 500 workers in four factories have been hospitalised over the past year. Women who collapsed worked 10 hour days, six days a week and the temperature in the factories hit 37C, the investigation found.

In one three-day period in November, 360 workers collapsed, it showed.

Workers interviewed as part of the investigation also described 28 people collapsing as they rushed to escape a fire at a factory supplying Nike and thick smoke in a factory supplying Puma.

Puma, Nike, VF Corporation and Asics were contacted by the Observer and said they had investigated the episodes. Nike said it has installed air conditioning and cooling systems, and Puma said it was working with Better Factories Cambodia (BFC), as well as recommending medical checks, maintenance of ventilation systems and a worker management committee. Asics is also working with the BFC. The VF Corporation said it worked hard to ensure working conditions in supplier factories followed local laws and regulations.

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