Waste-pickers’ knowledge of occupational hazards and utilisation of personal protective equipment: A case study of Bauchi City, Nigeria
Waste picking plays an important role through resource recovery and also impoverished individuals to cope with poverty especially in less developed countries. The working condition of the waste pickers is a cause for concern as, in most cases; work without safety protectives equipment while being exposed to numerous occupational hazards. To address these health and safety challenges, adequate understanding of the pickers’ knowledge of the hazards associated with the occupation and their safety protection practices is required. This is the root upon which this study was conducted. It assessed the level of knowledge of waste pickers on occupational health and safety hazards and their safety practices in Bauchi city, northeastern Nigeria. A total of 322 waste pickers were selected from 80 dealers’ depots across the study area for questionnaire administration and interview. The findings revealed that up to 74% of the pickers are aware of the health and safety risks associated with the occupation, and 52% are knowledgeable of the measures required to protect their health and safety. However, only a small fraction of the waste pickers was found to be using safety protective equipment regularly, such as boots 8.9%, gloves 3.8%, and nose masks 1.9%. These highlight the high degree of vulnerability to occupational hazards that waste pickers are exposed to. Provision of social interventions, regular medical check-ups, waste segregation from source and enforcement of employer and employee rights by law, between the waste scavengers and their masters were among the recommendations made towards pursuing better occupational health and safety conditions of the waste pickers.
The Faculty of Science, Federal University Dutse. Jigawa State, Nigeria.