Few studies have investigated the occupational hazards of municipal solid waste workers, particularly in developing countries.
Resultantly these workers are currently exposed to unknown and unabated occupational hazards that may endanger their health.
We determined municipal solid waste workers’ work related hazards and associated adverse health endpoints. A multifaceted
approach was utilised comprising bioaerosols sampling, occupational noise, thermal conditions measurement, and field based
waste compositional analysis. Results from our current study showed highest exposure concentrations for Gram-negative bacteria
(6.8 × 103 cfu/m3) and fungi (12.8 × 103 cfu/m3), in the truck cabins. Significant proportions of toxic, infectious, and surgical waste
were observed. Conclusively, municipal solid waste workers are exposed to diverse work related risks requiring urgent sound
interventions. A framework for assessing occupational risks of these workers must prioritize performance of exposure assessment
with regard to the physical, biological, and chemical hazards of the job.
The paper was presented at the Public Health Practitioners
Association (PHASA) Conference of South Africa, held in the
period 19–22 September 2016.