Assessment of work-related accidents associated with waste handling in Belo Horizonte (Brazil).

Mol, MP; Pereira, AF; Greco, DB; Cairncross, S; Heller, L; (2017) Assessment of work-related accidents associated with waste handling in Belo Horizonte (Brazil). Waste Manag Res. 734242X17722209. ISSN 1096-3669 DOI:

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As more urban solid waste is generated, managing it becomes ever more challenging and the potential impacts on the environment and human health also become greater. Handling waste - including collection, treatment and final disposal - entails risks of work accidents. This article assesses the perception of waste management workers regarding work-related accidents in domestic and health service contexts in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. These perceptions are compared with national data from the Ministry of Social Security on accidents involving workers in solid waste management. A high proportion of accidents involves cuts and puncture injuries; 53.9% among workers exposed to domestic waste and 75% among those exposed to health service waste. Muscular lesions and fractures accounted for 25.7% and 12.5% of accidents, respectively. Data from the Ministry of Social Security diverge from the local survey results, presumably owing to under-reporting, which is frequent in this sector. Greater commitment is needed from managers and supervisory entities to ensure that effective measures are taken to protect workers' health and quality of life. Moreover, workers should defend their right to demand an accurate registry of accidents to complement monitoring performed by health professionals trained in risk identification. This would contribute to the improved recovery of injured workers and would require managers in waste management to prepare effective preventive action.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Disease Control
PubMed ID: 28816103
Web of Science ID: 411827800010


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