Spotting the Dangers of Asbestos in Cambodia
Workers on construction sites, in asbestos factories or in auto workshops across Asia often aren’t aware of the dangerous asbestos they’re being exposed to.
But now Cambodian customs officers can identify asbestos-containing materials for the first time, helping keep workers and consumers safe, and helping unions better advocate for safe workplaces.
Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA has worked with Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) to bring two Australian specialists to Cambodia to train technicians from the Cambodian inspection department CamControl with two new microscopes and lab equipment, as well as training Customs Ministry staff in asbestos awareness.
The Australian Embassy in Cambodia joined Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA, the trainers, and Cambodian participants for the handover of the microscope and training. Anthony Samson, the Second Secretary of the Australian Embassy in Cambodia, said that “the establishment of this lab and testing service will contribute to reducing asbestos-related disease deaths and raise awareness of exposure hazards.”
“Under Australia’s National Strategic Plan for asbestos management and awareness we are committed to taking a leadership role in advocating for a worldwide ban on asbestos mining and manufacturing. What does this mean in a practical sense? It means supporting organisations like Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA and Camcontrol to manage the risks associated with asbestos”
The Deputy Director General Ministry of Commerce, H.E. Phan Oun, said that the microscope will contribute to awareness and the broader campaign to ban asbestos. He said:
“This is something new for us, now we can capture a new areas testing for asbestos products. We know asbestos is a big problem. We need a long-term action plan to ban asbestos.”
This is the first time Cambodia will be able to test products for asbestos inside the country and is a big boost for the trade unions and workers in helping to protect them from exposure risks from products they are working with as well as building support for a ban.
Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA thanks ASEA and the Australian Embassy in Cambodia for their strong support.
The Ban Asbestos Campaign in South East Asia is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).
Help keep workers and communities safe from asbestos.
By joining Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA, you can help keep communities and workplaces across South East Asia free from asbestos.