Serious negligence by Jordanian factory causes suffocation of dozens of workers

London- An independent and transparent investigation must be conducted into the suffocation of 130 Jordanian workers in a garment factory in the Northern Jordan Valley, says ImpACT International for Human Rights Polices. The workers died after inhaling chemicals used for sterilization.

The London-based think tank stressed that the incident reflects serious negligence and disregard for the life and safety of workers. Jordanian authorities must ensure safe working conditions in factories through due-diligence measures, in accordance with their obligations under international agreements.

According to ImpACT International, about 130 workers died due to inhalation in a factory owned by Classic Fashion Apparel Co., which was established in Jordan in 2013.

The toilet and canteen areas were sprayed with a strong-smelling insecticide while the workers were present in the factory. They began to feel dizzy, and some fainted

-One of the workers in the factory

The toilet and canteen areas were sprayed with a strong-smelling insecticide while the workers were present in the factory. They began to feel dizzy, and some fainted, just before their break, when they went out to eat or after they finished, one of the workers told ImpACT.  

"Although workers wore protective masks, the smell was very strong,” she said. “Most of the workers who suffer from respiratory problems were affected.” She added that factory management gave workers only a month and a half off during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

The Jordanian Ministry of Labor announced the closure of the factory as soon as the accident occurred. It will stay closed until the results of the investigation are known. Workers were taken to several hospitals, with four held in intensive care; their condition is described as serious.

ImpACT International condemns the failure of factory managers, who are responsible for more than 600 workers, to maintain safe conditions, and calls on Jordanian authorities to take firm measures to hold them accountable.

Moreover, ImpACT International stresses that Jordanian authorities should implement the necessary occupational health and safety procedures to ensure the safety and health of employees.

In the beginning of February 2020, dozens of workers at a factory belonging to the same company declared a strike and staged a sit-in to protest poor working conditions and irregular payment of wages and dues.

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