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One arrested after fatal Cambodia garment factory explosion

23 March 2017

Following the deadly explosion on March 22 at Levi’s supplier Zhen Tai Garment factory in Phnom Penh, authorities yesterday arrested a factory employee for alleged negligence. The blast, which occurred in an industrial boiler and sent large pieces of debris flying for some 100 metres, killed one and injured seven others.

The Phnom Penh Post quoted a local official saying that the boiler tank appeared to be in poor condition, and was very old and rusty and had cracks from long use.

Levi Strauss & Co said that they were looking into the incident.

“We are involved in an ongoing investigation with the factory owner, local authorities and the International Labor Organisation’s Better Factories Cambodia [BFC] program,” the company said in a statement. “At this time it’s too early to confirm any specifics related to the cause of the accident.”

The BFC told the Phnom Penh Post there had been a problem with the valve of the boiler, which failed to automatically release pressure when it had to, causing the explosion. During BFC’s assessment in December 2016, the safety certificate for the boiler was still valid, it said.

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