29-safety training copy

There is a complete absence of any safety or operations training for sanitation workers and their immediate supervisors

Workers not made aware of occupational risks:

Workers develop risk perceptions through hearsay and experience, not through formal processes. They do not know the risks that come with working in sanitation because they haven’t received any formalised training. 

  • Only 5% of DJB sewer workers have been given information about potential hazards. Almost none know first aid procedures 

Workers never trained to use safety gear/equipment:

Gear/equipment often counter-intuitive to use. The machines provided cannot support the process end-to-end and so manual workers have to be brought in to complete the process. They also find the gear (gloves, masks and respirators) difficult to use and prefer working without them. 

  • Respirators given to workers in one division in Delhi found uncomfortable and unusable because of no training

  • Jetting used disproportionately because workers aren’t aware of other available functionalities

No training for officials:

There has been very limited innovation in the design of hardware and tools for sanitation workers. Apart from this, research hasn’t been done to see if the machines are changing the process.

  • Plans and designs for mechanization are not audited by third-party observers, not clear if mechanization will solve all problems

Need to develop structured on-boarding training and orientation programs for SWs and officials

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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