REVIEW PAPER
Occupational health hazards of street cleaners – a literature review considering prevention practices at the workplace
 
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1
Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine of the German Social Accident Insurance, Institute of the Ruhr University Bochum (IPA), Bochum, Germany (Medical Department)
2
Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine of the German Social Accident Insurance, Institute of the Ruhr University Bochum (IPA), Bochum, Germany (Head of Institute)
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Vera van Kampen   

Ruhr University Bochum (IPA), Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine of the German Social Accident Insurance Medical Department, Bürkle-de-la-Camp-Platz 1, 44789 Bochum, Germany
Online publication date: 2020-09-15
 
 
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ABSTRACT
Street cleaning is an integral part of the solid waste management system. There are different ways to achieve clean streets depending on the availability of equipment, the type and magnitude of dirt, the surface conditions encountered or traffic conditions. In general, hand sweeping by an individual worker or a group, hose flushing, or machine sweeping or flushing are applied. In order to obtain information about the occurrence and relevance of occupational health hazards of street cleaners, the current international literature, as well as corresponding German regulations, were reviewed and evaluated. Street cleaning includes a variety of health hazards for employees. These can be subdivided into effects of occupational tasks and effects of working conditions such as weather or road traffic. The hazards result from physical, chemical and biological exposures, but may also be due to physiological and psychological burden or inadequate safety aspects. The most commonly reported work-related complaints are musculoskeletal and respiratory disorders, cuts, slips, and road traffic accidents. In developing countries, street cleaners seem to be still heavily exposed to dust and, in most cases, no suitable protective measures are available. Especially in industrialized countries there exist a number of standards and recommendations for waste workers that aim to reduce their occupational health impacts.
eISSN:1896-494X
ISSN:1232-1087