June 12, 1997 in Nation/World

Clothing Factory Closed After 100 Workers Faint

Compiled From Wire Services
 

The government on Wednesday ordered the closure of a clothing factory where more than 100 workers fainted, the second such crackdown in a month.

The workers fainted Wednesday at the Wang Chang factory in Choloma, about 120 miles north of the capital, Tegucigalpa.

“I felt a strong headache and that I lacked air. … I lost my balance and fainted,” said Guadalupe Funez, 24, one of the employees.

Labor Secretary Elpidio Canelas said the government was investigating the situation at the Wang Chang factory, though he said officials suspect a lack of ventilation caused the problems.

But a doctor said mass hysteria was partially to blame.

“Apparently this is all due to an attack of collective hysteria provoked by an inadequate work environment,” Dr. Jose Osorio of the Santa Lucia clinic said.

He said most patients from the factory were malnourished, which made them less able to deal with the stresses of the work, adding that more than 400 people were crowded into a building designed for 275.

In late May, the government ordered the temporary closure of the Pindu clothing factory in La Ceiba, a coastal city about 75 miles east of Choloma, after more than 100 workers there fainted.

Both factories are owned by South Korean companies.

A government probe found excessive levels of carbon dioxide in the air at the factory and recommended an improved air-conditioning system.


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