Ministries employing sanitation workers are operating in silos. Unclear responsibility for sanitation worker safety in urban local bodies

Lack of joint solutioning:

Sanitation and rehabilitation systems run by parallel organizations with little or no coordination between each other

  • MoSJE has tasked NCSK and NSKFDC for rehabilitation of workers, but they still rely on support from ULBs

  • Railways and MHRD are large employers of sanitation workers but don’t have coordinated strategies

Lack of standardization in equipment and contracts:

  • ULBs don’t have standardized requirements for contracting conditions and equipment that they must have; guidelines are open to interpretation

No standard benchmarks for duties in government bodies:

  • Different departments in ULBs responsible for different roles; lack of coordination and accountability

Need establishment of standardized SOPs and guidelines from the point of view of sanitation workers’

This insight applies to all types of unsafe sanitation work:

What this entails: Unblocking and cleaning sewer and wastewater drains

Frequency: Complaint-based, seasonal (rainy season) and occasionally for preventive maintenance

Location: Urban areas

What this entails: Emptying, collection and transport of human waste from septic tanks on an on-demand basis

Frequency: De-sludging frequency varies greatly, ranging from 6 months to 10-15 years

LocationPrimarily urban, mostly unplanned localities

What this entails: Cleaning faecal matter from railway tracks and platforms,railway toilets and platform toilets

Frequency: several times a day

Location: Rail network and railway stations

What this entails: Emptying of dry/single-pit latrines primarily in rural areas; daily collection and transport/emptying of fecal matter

LocationPrimarily rural

What this entails: Maintaining and operating sewage and faecal sludge treatment plants on a daily basis

LocationUrban, across the ~527 STPs/FSTPs in India

What this entails: Maintaining public/community toilets (often insanitary) on a daily basis

Location: Rural and urban CTCs, mostly in slums; public convenience shelters

What this entails: Operating and maintaining school toilets on a daily basis

LocationSchools – rural and urban

What this entails: Cleaning open drains and road sweeping, often encountering fecal matter due to open defecation and insanitary latrines connected to drains

LocationUrban – drains alongside roads

What this entails: Cleaning toilets in middle-high income households/institutions, encountering insanitary conditions at times

LocationUrban areas

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