Occupational health hazards in sewage and sanitary workers A paper published in the Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

India Water Portal
Saturday, November 22, 2014 - 10:30

Working conditions of the sanitory workers have found to remain unchanged over the years and pose a considerable risk to the dignity and health of the workers. For example, studies indicate that sanitory workers are exposed to a range of health hazards such as exposure to harmful gases like methane and hydrogen sulfide, cardiovascular degeneration, musculoskeletal disorders like osteoarthritic changes and intervertebral disc herniation, infections like hepatitis, leptospirosis and helicobacter, skin problems, respiratory system problems and altered pulmonary function parameters.

The paper argues that this situation can be prevented through:

  • Engineering, medical and legislative measures where the engineering measures should focus on making the process more mechanistic
  • Establishment of occupational health services, which can include pre-placement and periodic health monitoring
  • Through effective implementation of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993, which can help in the abolition of manual scavenging
  • Regular awareness programs to impart education regarding safer work procedures and use of personal protective devices

A copy of the paper can be accessed at this link