Reduction of Occupational Risks at Low-Tech Composting Plants in Developing Countries - Case Study ENPRO Composting Site LomÉ, Togo

Daniela Bleck, Edem K. Koledzi, Hélène Bromblet, Gnon Baba


Manual sorting and composting of mixed municipal household waste is associated with occupational hazards. This case study aimed at finding sustainable solutions to alleviate occupational risks for workers at a composting site in Lomé, Togo and at demonstrating a pragmatic way to apply international safety standards to composting facilities in developing countries.
Occupational risks were assessed by means of onsite data collection and workshops and interviews with workers and management representatives. The data were the basis for the evaluation of the risk as a function of “Severity of the potential harm” and “likeliness that harm is done”.
Mixed household waste is delivered to the composting plant. Pre-sorting and sorting non-decomposable residuals out is time consuming and requires a large number of workers. During all compost production procedures, workers are exposed to pathogen containing dust, experience musculoskeletal burdens due to handling heavy loads and face the risk of cuts caused by sharp items. Adverse environmental conditions increase occupational risks. Delivery of the organic waste fraction separated at household level is recommended toomit risky work steps and to increase process efficiency. For the current mode of operation, we present process re-engineering options and organisational measures to reduce occupational risks and we discuss implementation constraints.

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Journal of Sustainable Development   ISSN 1913-9063 (Print)   ISSN 1913-9071 (Online) Email:

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