Protecting waste collectors all around the world

Frings-Dresen, M.
December 2005
Occupational & Environmental Medicine;Dec2005, Vol. 62 Issue 12, p820
Academic Journal
This article presents a commentary on the article "World at Work: Brazilian Ragpickers," by M.C. da Silva and his colleagues, published in the October 2005 issue of the journal "Occupational and Environmental Medicine." Waste collection is a necessary hygiene-related activity all around the world. For waste collectors, however, the risk of disease resulting from exposure to various work hazards is high, as is the risk of fatal and non-fatal occupational accidents. The risk of disease increases with the intensity and duration of exposure to occupational hazards, as well as with the age of the worker. According to the author of this commentary, when waste collection is an essential way of living or means of survival, as is the situation for the Brazilian ragpickers, measures to reduce the risk of disease are difficult to realize. Ragpickers work informally, without regulation or occupational control. The data sampling by da Silva and colleagues therefore is considered as an important contribution by drawing attention to the various hazards and prevalence of musculoskeletal diseases and accidents in the working situations of the unemployed.


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