Context: Waste collection is necessary worldwide for inhabitants' health and living conditions. Waste collection workers are at risk of disease from exposure to various work hazards and fatal and nonfatal occupational accidents.
Aim: Evaluate the effect of an occupational health program on waste collection workers' knowledge and practices.
Methods: A quasi-experimental (pre and post-test) design was used. All five zones of the Suez Governorate were recruited for the data collected through the General Authority for Cleanliness and Beauty (GACB). A purposive sample of 95 formal waste collection workers conveniently participated in this study. Two tools were used for the assessment of knowledge and practices. An interview questionnaire was used to collect data regarding the waste collection workers’ demographic data, work characteristics, medical history, and habits. It also assesses the knowledge of the waste collection workers regarding occupational health safety. A reported practice checklist was used to assess the waste collection workers’ practices regarding safe waste collection practices.
Results: The present study reveals that all the study sample was males, with a mean age of 38.76±5.13, 51.6% can read and write, had a mean year in occupation of 10.59±4.84, and had no training. 92.6% were previously injured during their work. The comparison of waste collection workers’ total knowledge reveals statistically significant differences between pre-and post-program at p<0.05, while total practices of the waste collection workers are unsafe in pre- and had improved post-program with statistically significant differences between pre-and post-program implementation regarding all safety practices.
Conclusion: Based on the present study findings, waste collection workers had better knowledge and safe practices after program implementation than their pre-program levels. The ongoing occupational health program is highly needed by the waste collection workers related to hazards of waste collection and preventive measures. Scheduled medical surveillance and availability of supervision by GACB to provide protection devices and equipment are strongly recommended.
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