Global brands join fainting ‘phenomenon’ inquiry

At least 24 international apparel brands have pledged to immediately investigate the mass fainting “phenomenon” that has hit the Cambodian garment factories that supply them, the International Labour Organisation says. Executives of global brands had pledged to work together “to determine the precise causes of incidences of fainting among workers”, the ILO said after a buyers’ forum in Phnom Penh this week… The ILO said there had been 10 reported mass fainting events at garment factories this year. It identified numerous possible causes, including health stress, chemical exposure, excessive overtime, inadequate nutrition, lack of occupational safety and health management systems, and unsafe hygiene and sanitation facilities, according to Better Factories Cambodia. Tuomo Poutiainen, chief technical adviser at Better Factories Cambodia, said: “More research is urgently needed to identify possible new causes that will explain the fainting phenomenon, as well as eliminate [causes] we know about.”… Unionists have pointed to the low pay workers receive – about 30 US cents an hour – as a major cause of the fainting. Staff are working longer hours and skipping meals to make ends meet, they said.