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Sanitation Workers Safety and Handwashing
Sanitation workers at the frontline of the pandemic are amongst the most vulnerable segments of society due to the nature of their work.
It is difficult to identify households who may be suffering from COVID-19, hence precaution and safe management of all household solid waste generated in this pandemic is required. Therefore, solid waste collection and workers’ safety during door to door collection, street sweeping and drain cleaning work must be put under essential public services and precaution has to be exercised to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.
GoI has released multiple guidelines and advisories to be followed by each state and local governments, as well as contractors employing sanitation workers. These include many categories such as solid waste management (street sweepers, waste collectors), and faecal waste management (drain cleaning, FSTP operators, vacuum truck operators, users and managers of community and public toilets). All the different categories of workers engaged in urban sanitation services and the risk they pose from COVID-19 need to be factored in for securing appropriate Protective Gear (PG). Their employment as contractual or regular staff with the ULBs should not come in the way of provisioning of protective gear.
The protective gear, at the very least, includes gloves, face masks and shoes, and may also include other equipment depending on the nature of work being carried out.