19 Jun 2011

Puma admits poor factory conditions in Cambodia

11:45 am on 19 June 2011

German sportswear giant Puma says long working hours and health and safety breaches were to blame for a mass fainting at one of its suppliers in Cambodia in April.

An independent investigation has found that a failure to follow the company's labour standards caused 101 employees to become unwell at the Huey Chuen factory in Phnom Penh on 9-10 April.

"The breaches of these standards include excessive hours of work as well as multiple occupational health and safety violations," Puma says in a statement seen by AFP on Saturday and reported by the ABC.

Puma says it takes the findings "very seriously" and promises to educate workers and supervisors about improving working conditions at the factory, which makes footwear for the brand.

While rare, mass faintings occasionally happen in Cambodian garment factories and are often blamed on employees' poor health and bad ventilation in the workplace.

Earlier this week, more than 200 workers needed medical treatment after falling ill at a textile factory in Phnom Penh.

The garment industry, a key source of foreign income for Cambodia, employs more than 300,000 workers, mostly women.