Weekly Seminar Series #4

“Occupation and Health Hazard of Municipal Sanitation Workers in Pune City”

Speaker: Dr Vini Sivanandan

Abstract: This report documents the sanitation workers who are working in Pune city. We investigate how sanitation workers self-identify their health risks and needs. Results from the study reveal that the majority of sanitation workers were not provided basic safety essentials, and this was most prominently visible among contractual workers. Pre-job training and awareness seem to be neglected, as it is observed that only half of the participants in the study among permanent workers and contractual workers use safety equipment regularly. The average duration of working years increases with age and is concentrated among illiterates, primary and secondary level of education. A majority of permanent sanitation workers were provided free health checkups in contrast to only half of contractual sanitation workers. The assessment of self-reported health issues reveals no major inference. We also probe on how their family roles and obligations intersect with their de-prioritisation of self-care. The investigation reveals neglect of personal well-being, most prominently among female sanitation workers, at the cost of centring the needs of the family. We suggest  that along with a yearly free health checkup, a survey and a separate health portal for sanitation workers is necessary. There is a need to disseminate knowledge and create awareness of legal rights to deter exploitation. In addition, encouraging sanitation workers to use safety equipment as a preventive measure is essential.
Chair: Prof. Sangeeta Shroff
Commenced: 21 April 2022, 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM
Venue: Seminar Hall, Mail Building