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Health And Safety Problems In Port Louis Environmental Sciences Essay

This project attempts to study the health and safety problems existing at the central market of Port-Louis more precisely among the staff posted there and the public in general. The aim is to underline the importance of a Health and safety programme by describing the present conditions under which these workers are engaged daily and existing hazards to which persons visiting the central market are exposed to.

The health and safety of employees at any place of work be it in a large firm or a small one must be the concern of management. It is always forgotten that the human resources are more important than machines, materials etc. and that without them; the work system itself will not exist. Moreover, the management must also ensure that no harm come to visitors within the precinct of such an environment. In Mauritius, the Act 28 of 2005 dealing with the occupational safety and health was promulgated to give some more attention to these aspects. Under this act, employers are required to provide a safe workplace for their employees as well as to ensure that persons not in their employment are not exposed to any risk.

The Municipality of Port-Louis like any other Local Authority offers services such as refuse collection & disposal, drain & gutters cleaning, proper maintenance of public toilets etc. in the market place. In order that these services be of the appropriate standard, it is important to protect the human resources involved in such processes from accidents, injuries and illnesses so that the output is not adversely affected

Accidents and illnesses disrupt the output and carry with them enormous costs. These costs may be direct such as payment of compensation through insurance, uncompensated wage lost of injured employees, cost of medical care and hospitalization. Indirect costs include damage to equipments, materials etc. There are, without doubt, some efforts on the part of the Municipality of Port-Louis to tackle certain problems associated with the health and safety aspects at the central market but unfortunately, insufficient efforts are made towards the development of a sound “Health and safety programme” which would otherwise contribute to health, safety and well being of the employees and members of the public in general

Introduction

The Central Market situated in the city of Port-Louis is the largest market of the Island, It administers an area of about…….. and it is divided into two main parts commonly known as the upper and lower market. The part which is to be found between Queen Street and Farquhar Street (upper market) is made of four different sections namely

Vegetables section,

Mezzanine level,

Food Court section and

New Wing section.

This part of the market is reserved for vegetables, fruits, groceries, haberdasheries, cakes, bread, tea, cold drinks etc.

The lower market situated between Farquhar Street and Quay Street reserved for meat, fish and poultry consists of

Fish & Goat section,

Poultry section,

Beef section and

Pork section.

At the Central Market, the multicultural society of Mauritius is shown at its best. It has to be noted that the Central Market which is open from Mondays till Saturdays (from 5.00 hrs to 18.00 hrs) and on Sundays (from 5.00hrs to 12.00hrs) is actually visited by about 10,000 persons or more daily.

About the Health Inspectors

The Municipal Market Regulations made under GN 40 of 1935 are enforced at the Central Market by the Health Inspectors who work there on a weekly alternate shift system basis. Whilst a shift composed of two (2) Health Inspectors and three (3) Assistant Health Inspectors perform duty from 5.00 am to 11.30 am, the other shift performs duty from 11.30 am to 6.00 pm. The Health Inspectors have an important role to play in the promotion of public health by the maintenance of a healthy environment at the Central Market, Apart from this, they also perform the duties listed below:

To be responsible for the opening , closing and administration of the market

Carrying out regular inspections and submitting timely reports accordingly

Inspecting market traders and to seize all unwholesome goods that are kept exposed for sale and to establish contraventions against offenders

Attending public health complaints from members of public

Preventing hawkers from operating in a radius of 500 m of the Central Market and to effect seizures accordingly.

About the scavenging team

The cleaning of the various sections at the Central Market is ensured by a scavenging team permanently posted there. It consists of 32 refuse collectors, 4 waste water pipe cleaners and 4 lavatory cleaners which are equally distributed in two groups and work in shift system also.

Below are the various tasks performed by the different grades making the scavenging team in view of maintaining a healthy environment at the market place;

Grade: Refuse collectors

Duties

Removal of all types of refuse from various sections at the Central Market

Cleansing and proper sweeping of the alleys

Loading of all types of refuse on council vehicles (trailers)

Pulling wheelbarrows and tug levers for the disposal of waste

Grade: Waste water pipe cleaners

Duties

The unblocking, cleaning and flushing of all drains

To collect, carry, convey and transport cleaning implement tool( e.g. rods)

Grade: Lavatory cleaners

Duties

To clean, sweep and flush public toilets regularly

There is also one gangman commonly known as foreman who is at the head of the scavenging team and his duties are;

To control the works undertaken under his supervision and to ensure that it is carried out according to norms and standards.

To ensure that all labour force under his control are engaged upon allocated works as directed and to report all nuisances to the Health Inspectors.

Health hazards to the scavenging team at the Central Market

The workers in the scavenging team at the Central market are mainly exposed to waste handling activities every day at work (i.e. 7 hours per day) which make them most vulnerable to occupational hazards.

The occupational hazards to which they are exposed may be classified as follows:-

Physical hazards

Biological hazards

Chemical hazards

Psychosocial hazards

Ergonomic hazards

Physical hazards

Physical hazards are the most common hazards which include unsafe conditions that can cause injury and illness among workers and which may arise from the work environment in which they exercise or material they usually use.

Exposure to heat

High temperatures are usually encountered by workers at the Central Market since mist of the time they perform outdoor duties. Generally, humans can control their internal temperature in the by sweating. However, in summer the outdoor temperature can reach 35 degrees in Port-Louis and thus creating possible hazards for workers working outside. Under such extreme heat and humidity conditions, the body cannot keep up and will suffer from heat stress. The health effects caused by heat stress include the following:-

Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion occurs after prolonged exposure to heat and/or heavy duty in the heat esulting in increased loss of body fluids through heavy sweating. The signs of heat exhaustion are:

Clammy, pale skin

Sweating

Dry mouth

Tiredness( fatigue)

Headache or dizziness

Heat stroke

Heat stroke is a very dangerous and a potentially life threatening form of heat stress or injury. The body is so overwhelmed by the heat and humidity that it loses the capacity to sweat. The result is very high body which in severe cases can actually cause brain damage and even death. The signs of heat stroke are:

Very high body temperature

Hot, red and dry skin

Deep or shallow breathing

A weal pulse rate

Confusion or hallucination

Loss of consciousness

Heat cramps

Heat cramps are muscular spasms that occur when the body loses too uch salt during excessive sweating and when not enough salt is taken in. They can be vey painful and affect several different muscles groups. Some of the most common symptoms are:

Rapid heartbeat

Hot, sweaty skin

Dizziness

Fainting

Nausea and vomiting

Recommendations

There exist several methods of control at workers

Schedule tasks to avoid heavy physical activities during the hottest part of the day

Increase the frequency and duration of rest breaks

Make use of additional workers for the job or slow down the pace of the work

Provide cool drinking water and encourage its consumption

Wear lightweight clothing like vests, insulated or reflective clothing, caps to control heat stress.

Exposure to ultraviolet radiation

Ultraviolet radiation (UV) which is given off by the sun is one of the factors to which the scavenging team is highly exposed to. Small amounts of UV are beneficial for people and essential in the production of vitamin D. However, prolonged human exposure to solar UV radiation may result in acute and chronic health effects on the skin, eye and immune system also. Sunburn (erythema) is the best known acute effect of excessive UV radiation exposure. Over the longer term, UV radiation induces degenerative changes in cells of the skin, fibrous tissue and blood vessels leading to premature skin aging and skin cancers. UV has effects on the eye also. Excessive exposure can lead to inflammation of the cornea, likely hood of cataracts since UV renders the lens of the eye opaque and forming lesions on the outer membrane. To some people, exposure to intense sunlight may result in dark vision and falls due to dizziness.

Recommendations

Long sleeves clothes must be worn by workers to avoid contact of the UV rays with the skin.

Since the sun’s UV is the strongest between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm, the exposure to the sun during these hours must be limited.

Protective clothing like hat with wide brim and tightly woven, loose fitting clothes must be worn.

Workers must make use of polarized sunglasses when working outdoors.

Noise

Noise at work can cause hearing loss that can be temporary or permanent. Very often, people experience temporary deafness after leaving a noisy place. Although hearing recovers within a few hours, this should not be ignored. It is a sign that if one continues to be exposed to the noise, his hearing could be permanently damaged. Permanent hearing damage can be caused immediately by sudden, extremely loud or explosive noises. The central market which happens to be a crowded place has a very noisy environment all day long. Workers are constantly exposed to such environment and this can become very annoying for them in the long run. The noise can reduce the efficiency of the workers in performing daily tasks by reducing attention to works that may be assigned to them. Also because of noise the workers can find themselves fatigued and irritable. Moreover, noise may put stress on other parts of the body causing abnormal secretion of hormones, the tensing of muscles, sleeplessness and increased heart rate.

Recommendation

Limit the time spent in noisy places through job rotation

Workers must make use of personal protective equipment like ear plugs and ear muffs

Health surveillance (hearing checks) must be provided to all the workers who are likely to be regularly exposed to noisy environment.

Biological hazards

-to refuse collectors

The main problems faced by the refuse collectors would be of biological pollution, decomposing organic matter and the evolving gases giving out bad odor. The vegetables, fish, goat, beef & pork sections generate huge quantities of wastes that serve as the medium in which bacteria can grow especially true for the fish section which generates waste that is primarily animal matters like fins, scales, blood, flesh etc. Several species of pathogenic bacteria like salmonella, pseudomonas, clostridium, proteus can grow on these media. In the vegetables section, refuse collectors are exposed to decaying or spoilt vegetables and fruits, molds, spores, toxins etc. thus releasing harmful gases. Some of the gases that are liberated due to the decomposition of these micro organisms are methane, ammonia, carbon dioxide all of which pollute the air and most of them are fatal. These wastes can also facilitate the growth of fungi and sustain viruses for long periods. The areas are regularly visited by street animals like dogs, cats and even birds (crows, pigeon). When these animals move in the surroundings, they can spread infections and can prove to be serious health hazards. As such the refuse collectors engaged in the collection of refuses from the various sections are the most vulnerable in contracting illnesses.

Recommendations

Refuse collectors should use appropriate equipment when collecting refuse. For e.g. the must use leather gloves instead of rubber gloves to minimize exposure or complete barriers from harmful micro organisms.

Refuse collectors should wash their hands with soap and water before eating, drinking or smoking after every waste collection exercise.

Medical checkups must be carried out at regular intervals

The disposal of wastes should involve co-operation among all concerned parties like vendors, buyers and municipal workers.

Separate trolleys must be used to disposed of several types of waste (for e.g. a trolley for vegetables & fruits waste and a separate one for animal carcass.

-to waste water pipe cleaner (cleaning of drains and sewers)

The drainage system (drains & sewers) are for the most part out of sight (i.e. underground) and same system exist at the central market. Drains at the market place are the pipes installed to take the waste water away from the various sections whereas sewers are those when drains from two or more sections meet. This, in turn, is connected to a main sewer under the road which is under the responsibility of the Waste Water Management Authority (WWMA). As for those found at the Central Market, it the waste water pipe cleaners that are responsible for its proper maintenance (cleaning, unblocking etc.) The proper functioning of the drains and sewers are usually disturbed when unsuitable items such as waste food, disposable nappies, cotton buds, used syringes are thrown into it. These can lead to the drains getting clogged during heavy rainfall. This can, in turn, become a breeding source for mosquitoes by which various diseases like malaria, chikungunya, dengue fever can arise and affect the health of the workers when cleaning same. Moreover, the drains also attract rodents and pets which survive upon debris dumped due to the action of mankind and give rise to bad smell. The workers exposed to such working environment are bound to get into contact with biological agents such as bacteria, viruses (hepatitis- HAV, HBV), fungi and parasites that can cause illness and in severe cases even death.

Recommendations

Waste water pipe cleaners must assume that anything touched by sewage is contaminated

Hands must be properly washed with soaps and clean water (preferable hot) before eating or smoking.

Worker must always wear protective equipment like gloves, waterproof dressings, eye protection and rubber boots.

It must be ensured that such workers have regular medical checkups.

Chemical hazards

Use of detergents for cleaning purposes

The use of chemical detergents like caustic soda and “deodrene” (creolin) for cleaning purposes is very frequent at the market place. Refuse collectors are regularly exposed to such chemicals when cleaning the floors, alleys, walls and toilets at the Central Market. These chemicals if not properly handled or without adequate precautions taken, can prove to be hazardous to the health of workers. For instance, the caustic soda is highly corrosive and reactive. It can be irritating to the skin, eyes and gastrointestinal tract. Solutions of caustic soda may damage the eye resulting in vision impairment and even blindness. Ingestion of this chemical substance can cause chemical burns to the mouth and throat with possible ulceration to the gastrointestinal tract. On the other hand, “deodrene” (creolin) is a highly concentrated liquid sterilizing deodorant used at places where offensive odors may be generated (mostly used in drains, fish section and toilets). This chemical may cause burns, sensitizations by skin contact and may also result in lung damage if swallowed.

Recommendations

Personal protective equipment like rubber gloves must be worn when handling such detergents.

Hands must be properly washed with soap and water after each contact with the chemicals before eating, drinking or smoking.

Precautionary measures must be employed to avoid any contact with the skin and eyes.

Instead of using cleaning agents that contains chemicals that are detrimental to the health of the workers, cleaning agents which are natural, eco friendly and less harmful must be used.

The chemical detergents must be stored in a safe place and must be properly labeled.

Workers must be instructed about the hazards associated with the use of these chemicals and steps to be followed in case of any type of contact.

Psychosocial hazards

Violence at work

Workplace violence is any threat or act of aggression against a worker. It includes physical assault, verbal abuse and sexual harassment. While performing their respective function, the workers in the scavenging team at the Central Market mat come into conflict with the management, personnel and even members of public. The most common causes of violence at work include personal conflicts, frustration due to workload and poor working environment and conditions. Most commonly, workplace violence results in loss of sleep, fear or depression. Victims of workplace violence have an increased risk of developing post traumatic stress disorder. After a violent incident at work, some workers may have difficulties returning to work. They may blame themselves or fear that others will blame them. Even the fear of violence or witnessing violence can affect the workers. Violence may also affect family members who may worry about their relatives when they are at work. Consequently, workplace violence can result in the followings:

Fatal/major injury

Feeling of being at risk or distressed

Absenteeism

Lack of interest in work

Recommendations

Reduce stress in workplace and improve communications between workers and workplace.

Train workers to recognize and respond to violent situations

Improve working environment and conditions

Setting of a policy against violence at work by employers and initiate stricy disciplinary actions against concerned parties

Counseling programs against violence

Drug and alcohol abuse

Drugs are considered to be any substance that alters or interferes with an individual’s health, personal life or work (Coshan 1992). Employees’ drug and alcohol abuse is a problem for many organizations. Drug and alcohol can create absenteeism, accidents and security problems and thus hindering the smooth running of an organization.

Over recent years studies have shown that:

Absenteeism is two to three times higher for drug and alcohol users than for other employees.

Employees with chemical dependence problems may claim three times as many sickness benefits

In many workplace, 20-25 % of accidents at work involve intoxicated people injuring themselves and innocents victims (ILO)

Drug and alcohol abuse is also prevalent among workers of the scavenging team. They often have recourse to it due to the following work related factors:

High stress

Low job satisfaction

Long hours of irregular shifts

Fatigue, repetitious duties

Remote or irregular supervision

The duties that they perform at the market place usually require alertness and accuracy. Impairment to these qualities can result in serious accidents and may interfere with the accuracy and efficiency of work. In addition, drug and alcohol abuse may also affect job performance and generate reduced productivity.

Recommendations

Employees prone to drug and alcohol abuse should be offered educational programs

Screening workers for substance use, counseling those who show risky behaviors and referring people to treatment if needed can remarkably reduce drug and alcohol problems

Job stress

One of the simplest definition for stress is the “adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand place on them (Health & Safety Executive, HSE). Job stress can also be defined as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources or needs of the worker. Job stress can lead to poor health and injury (US NIOSH)

Stress sets off an alarm in the brain which responds by preparing the body for defensive action. The nervous system is aroused and the hormones are released to sharpen the senses, quicken the pulse, deepen respiration and tense the muscles. This response is important because it helps us to defend against threatening situations. Short-lived or infrequent episodes of stress pose little risk. But when stressful situations go unresolved, the body is kept in a constant state of activation, which increases the rate of wear and tear to biological systems. Ultimately fatigue or damage results and the ability of the body to repair and defend itself can become seriously compromised. As a result, the risk of injury or disease increases depending of levels. Unhealthy levels of stress can lead to a variety of disorders and illness. These include a broad band of pathological consequences ranging from chronic fatigue to depression and including insomnia, anxiety, migraine, emotional upsets allergies and abuse of drugs, tobacco and alcohol. In the longer term, stress can contribute to hypertension and as a result to the development of heart and cerebrovascular disease, inflammatory bowel diseases and musculoskeletal problems.

With regard t the workers in the scavenging section, the following job conditions can lead to stress:

The design of task - heavy workload, infrequent rest breaks, long working hours and shift work; hectic and routine tasks.

Interpersonal relationships – poor social environment and lack of support or help from co-workers and supervisors.

Work roles – conflicting or uncertain job expectations, too much responsibility

Career concerns – lack of opportunity for growth, advancement or promotion and rapid changes for which workers are unprepared ( for e.g. reshufflement)

Environmental conditions – unpleasant working environment such as crowded/ noisy place, heat etc.)

Recommendations

Establish work schedules that are compatible with demands and responsibilities.

The roles and responsibilities of the workers must be clearly defined to them.

Ensure that the workload is in line with worker’s capabilities and resources.

Provide opportunities for social interaction among workers.

Training programs on relaxation techniques to help the worker cope with stress: Benson’s method (yoga, tai chi, meditation etc.)

Medical treatment of sick workers: depression, backache, high blood pressure etc.

Counseling workers on ways of coping with stress workers education etc.

Ergonomic hazards

Musculoskeletal disorders of the back

A musculoskeletal disorder of the back that is low back pain is among the leading causes of occupational injury and disability in many countries within different occupations. Since 1989, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has listed musculoskeletal diseases as a leading priority in research and disease prevention efforts in many countries. Heavy or frequent lifting, forceful movements and carrying heavy loads complicated by awkward body posture are daily elements of required tasks performed by workers at the Central Market. Refuse collection at the market place is done manually by the refuse collectors and they are often required to do repeated physical activity such as lifting of heavy weights (dustbins full of refuse), carrying, pulling and pushing (trolleys). Repetitive or static awkward body posture resulting from excessive bending forward or lateral and twisting (while collecting refuse from floor level and sweeping) will increase the spinal stress and disproportionate loading to spinal structures. Such work activities can lead to temporary or chronic spinal postural defects and neurological compression syndromes.

Recommendations

Education and training must be provided to the workers in the scavenging team on techniques to handle loads properly like

Heavy loads must be seized and lifted with straight back and bent knees.

The loads must be as close as possible to the body by grasping between the knees and by good foot placement.

Avoid a rotating or twisting movements of trunks when lifting or lowering loads.

At organizational level, proper equipment and tool must be provided like;

All dustbins used to lift refuses must have handles.

Try to replace lifting and lowering by pushing or pulling. For instance, wheelie bins should be provided as this would make the job of refuse collection easier.

Job rotation might be effective to prevent the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders.

Hazards to Health Inspectors

At office

The general belief that the office provides a safe environment in which to work is a fallacy. Many office hazards exist that can cause injuries and health problems. Such hazards may arise from poor lighting, noise or poorly designed furniture and equipment.

The Inspector’s office at the Central Market is found in a building constructed in the year 1980 and same is poorly infrastructure. The office has a poor ventilation system with only two wall fans installed inside. The indoor air quality can pose threats to workers operating inside especially during summer season. Indoor air quality problems are generally classified as “sick building syndrome” (SBS) or “building related illness” (BRI). The symptoms associated with SBS include cough, dizziness, dry skin, erythema (skin reddening), headache, mental fatigue, respiratory infections etc. As a result, the temperature inside the office also becomes uncomfortable and can cause annoyance and even pain depending on the degree of heat imbalance.

Besides, housekeeping which is very poor may result in slips, trips and falls. Chairs in the office are few in numbers and most of them are uncomfortable (without backrest) which will in turn result in unsuitable sitting conditions and thus cause low back pain.

Regarding the VDU, the monitor is poorly positioned – it is too low/high, close/far from the worker, or it is offset to one side. The mouse is too far away and requires stretching to use. Also, the chair is not properly adjusted to fit the person forcing awkward and uncomfortable postures. There is glare from overhead light or windows increasing the risk of eyestrain.

Recommendation

The management should provide all office employees with timely information on the health and physical hazards associated with office products and materials.

Regarding the indoor air quality/temperature, it can be improved by installing air conditioners inside the office.

Height adjustable chairs must be provided so that the workers can work at their preferred work height.

Housekeeping must be improved by cleaning the office regularly and storing work items (files) on shelves or filing cabinets.

Introduce job rotation between different tasks to reduce physical and mental fatigue.

On site

As specified above, the Health Inspectors effect patrols daily whereby they verify that the stall occupiers/employees are complying with the provisions of the Municipal Market Regulations. Moreover, they also effect checks in the vicinity of the market to ensure that illegal hawkers are not operating within a radius of 500m of the Central Market. Normally those hawkers are drug addicts, alcoholics and habitual criminals. As such, dealing with them can pose a risk to the Health Inspectors since the latter have no experience or adequate training on how to handle such persons as it is the case for police officers. When the illegal hawkers are asked to vacate the area where they operate, they usually object and sometimes make use of abusive languages towards the Health Inspectors and in some situations physically assault them. This may have an impact on the morals of the Inspectors. They might feel threatened, intimidated or anxious and theses may refrain them from performing their duty as they are supposed to. In addition, when hawking activities are carried out Health Inspectors are directed to be present on street during long hours (5-6 hours continuously) without rest and they are supposed to patrol the street on foot. Consequently, the Inspectors are at a greater risk of health problems like varicose veins, poor circulation and swelling in the feet and legs, foot problems, joint damage, heart and circulatory problems. It has been noticed that during these periods (when hawking activities are done), the absenteeism rate is high and this hinder the smooth running of the work at the Central Market.

Recommendation

Police assistance must be provided to Health Inspectors whenever illegal hawkers are to be chased away.

There must be job rotation to reduce the time spent standing or walking.

Rest breaks must be provided at regular intervals.

Hazards to members of public

As stipulated in section 5 (e) of the occupational safety and health Act 2005;

“Every employer shall so far as is reasonable practicable ensure that any person not in his employment is not exposed to any risk to is safety or health”

With over 10,000 persons visiting the Central Market every day, ensuring their safety is not an easy task. Without any doubt, there exist several hazards that can pose threats to their health and safety, but the most common are:

Slips, trips and falls.

unhygienic conditions in some areas

Slips, trips and falls

According to statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), slips and trips are the most common causes of non-fatal major injuries and account for over half of all reported injuries to members of the public. They cost employers over £512 m a year in costs such as legal actions from injured persons and insurances.

At the Central Market, nearly all the floors, alleys and pavements are constructed from ancient stones and bricks. Normally, when the floors/alleys are kept clean and dry, they provide enough resistance to stop someone from slipping. However, they behave in complete different ways if dry contaminants or liquids end up on the surface. Several complaints, especially during rainy weather, are received from members of public complaining about the slippery state of the floors or about the uneven surface in some sections. It has also been noticed that some stall occupiers/employees (mostly in the vegetables section) expose their articles for sale on metallic stands placed along the alleys meant to be used as passage ways. A trip is inevitable if a person’s foot contacts such obstruction causing him to be thrown off-balance. Slips and trips can result in falls and cause head injuries, back injuries, paralysis, broken bone, sprains and strains to muscles serious injuries such as severe and even death.

Recommendation

Practicing a good procedure to clean up wet floors as soon as possible may be the most important measure in preventing slips, trips and falls incidents

Display signs of wet floor must be used where appropriate.

All passage ways must be kept clear of any obstructions at all time.

Where possible, absorbent mats in entrance ways should be placed( for e.g. in food court section)

Unhygienic conditions in some areas

Toilet

There exist one male and one female toilet for use by members of the public visiting the Central Market. The public toilets can be considered to be the mostly visited location at the market place As a matter of fact, each toilet can accommodate about 10 persons at a time, The building in which these toilets are located was built in the year 1980 and since then, no major renovations have been made therein which implies that these toilets have a very poor infrastructure. Though the toilets are cleaned and flushed by the lavatory cleaner (every 1 hour), it still remain in deplorable state and may be a potential risk to infections and diseases. Moreover, drugs addicts use the toilets to administer drugs and dispose the used syringes there itself. These used syringes can prove to be very harmful as the risk of acquiring HIV infection from an accidental prick is very likely among the toilet users or the lavatory cleaners. During rainy weather, the sewer of these toilets often gets blocked and starts overflowing (i.e. urine and feaces coming out) and eventually this situation give rise to foul odor.

Recommendation

Additional man power must be employed in the cleaning and flushing of the toilets (every 15/30 minutes)

In the long run, the existing toilets must be reconstructed with new and modern sanitary equipments or still be enlarged to accommodate many people at a time.

Odor

Odor is one of the most common sources of nuisances in the market. Most unpleasant odor that is usually experienced at the Central Market comes from organic matters that are in a state of decomposition (for e.g. vegetables & fruits wastes, animal carcass etc.) Generally, it has been observed that most of the time people block their nose whenever they pass near waste bins, trailers or toilets due to the unpleasant smell emanating from these places. Health effects from exposure to foul odor depend on what type of odor someone is expose to, how much he was expose to (dose), for how long he was exposed (duration), how often he was exposed (frequency) and the individual sensitivity to odor. For people who are more sensitive to odors, simply smelling a small amount of foul odor can cause headache and nausea (upset stomach). Other health impacts of unpleasant odors may include loss of appetite, depression, increased anxiety, asthma attacks in asthma sufferers or decrease in physical energy.

Recommendation

Isolated places must be identified to place waste bins and trailer and regular emptying and disinfection of such places must be effected.

Suitable disinfectants (air fresheners) must be used in places where foul odor usually emanates (near drains & toilets)

Methodology

Below are described the ways that were employed to gather required information on the health hazards present at the central market and how the workers of the scavenging team, the Health Inspectors and members of public are at risk.

A set of questionnaire (APPENDIX A) was distributed among the workers of the scavenging team. The information gathered through this questionnaire will indicate how and to what extent the workers are exposed to occupational hazards and what the consequences are.

Interviews were carried out from members of public to understand what are the most common hazards they usually encounter during their visits at the central market and its impact on their health. (APPENDIX B)

Site visits were also effected in all sections of the Central Market

Computer software tool Microsoft Excel will be used to represent the data obtained. The data collected will be represented in the form of charts and percentage.