Occupational Health and Safety Challenges/exposures of Informal Workers in Varying Communities in Gauteng

Occupational Health and Safety Challenges/exposures of Informal Workers in Varying Communities in Gauteng

Study team: Z Kirsten and T Singh

National Institute for Occupational Health, Johannesburg, 2000

Background: Workers in the informal economy often lack decent working conditions, adequate social security.  Their vulnerable employment is often characterized by inadequate salaries, low productivity and poor conditions of work that undermine workers’ fundamental rights due to social inequalities.  The total number of vulnerable workers worldwide is estimated at between 1.48 and 1.59 billion, approximately half of the total global workforce.  The number of workers in vulnerable employment is said to increase with the increasing unemployment rates in South Africa.  The current global burden of ill-health is immense and the informal workplace contribution is mostly unmeasured.  They are exposed to various hazards including biological, chemical and ergonomic stresses. However, the risk of exposure and the associated health effects in South Africa is not well documented.  This study will focus on street waste pickers and will provide evidence based results to influence the guidelines on the integration of the street waste pickers into formalisation.  This study aims to look at the occupational health and safety challenges of the informal workers in three varying suburban communities in Gauteng.

Method: A qualitative research study will be conducted from March 2019  to March 2020 in three communities  (very affluent area, middle class area and low income area) in Gauteng. Questionnaires will be administered (including social issues), medical history and work exposures.