Validation of the Framework for Assessing Occupational Health Risks of Municipal Solid Waste Handlers

  •  France Ncube    
  •  Esper Ncube    
  •  Kuku Voyi    


BACKGROUND: The occupational health risks associated with municipal solid waste handling are widely documented in literature. However, no framework has been developed for their assessment. The aim of this study was to develop and validate a tool for use by local government structures.

METHODS: Epidemiological evidence on human health risks associated with municipal solid waste management (MSWM) was obtained from literature and primary data collected from the study sites. An analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of available human and environmental risk assessment frameworks was done and the findings were used as a base for the framework. The proposed framework was validated through iteration workshops in small, medium and large local government structures. Also, it was presented in a safety and health conference, in order obtain the input of occupational health and safety practitioners, researchers and policy makers.

RESULTS: A draft framework was produced, validated and revised to incorporate resolutions made from the iteration workshops. The final framework constitutes four inputs, six phases and four principles. Each phase has defined outputs.

CONCLUSION: The applicability of the framework to situations of resource-constrained economies has been tested through validation workshops in small, medium and large local government structures of a low income country. In light of the multi-methods used in developing the framework and the input of practitioners in validation workshops, the framework appears relevant for the purposes of assessing occupational health risks of municipal solid waste handlers (MSWHs).

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