Occupational Injuries and Associated Factors among Solid Waste Collectors in Nairobi City County, Kenya
Kaluu, Jane Kanario
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Solid waste collectors are persons employed by either a public or private sector to collect and dispose waste from residential, commercial, industrial or other collection site or for further processing. In developed countries, automated trucks are used that are fitted with hydraulic lift to pick up and dump trash. In developing countries such as Kenya, solid waste handling is usually done manually which exposes the solid waste collectors to occupational injuries. The aim of the study was to assess occupational injuries and associated factors among solid waste collectors in Nairobi City County, Kenya. The study employed the use of cross sectional study design and the study sample constituted 328 solid waste collectors who were clustered into private companies, community based organizations and Nairobi City County environment department employee groups. Systematic random sampling was used to select the study subjects. Data collection for the study was done using a structured questionnaire by trained research assistants. Study findings were analyzed using descriptive statistics of frequency and percentages; inferential statistics using Chi-square to test for associations. Regression analysis was done to isolate the confounding factors. Data was presented and interpreted in tables and charts. The findings show that the common injuries include puncture 264(80.5%); laceration 252(76.8%); contusion 188(57.3%); strain/sprain 111(33.8%); and fracture 28(8.5%). The proportion of solid waste collectors who experienced at least one type of injury within six months prior to the study was 88.1%. The nature of employment i.e. permanent or temporary (χ2=10.179; df=1; p=0.001); and sources of waste (χ2=15.409; df=1; p=0.000) were predictor predisposing factors for the occupational injuries. The identified mitigation measures for occupational injuries were on job training (χ2=4.614; df=1; p=0.032); use of mechanized method for solid waste collection (χ2=11.856; df=1; p=0.001); and PPEs usage (χ2=7.498; df=1; p=0.006). The proportion of the various types of occupational injuries was very high among the solid waste collectors, therefore measures including on job training on proper methods of handling solid waste, use of mechanized solid waste collection method and provision and consistent use of PPEs should be enhanced to minimize the injuries.