24,000 sanitation workers in Hyderabad suffer sans safety gear

GHMC officials told Express that the proposal for procuring safety equipments has been okayed and they are in the process of inviting the tenders.

Published: 20th March 2020 08:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th March 2020 08:27 AM   |  A+A-

Coronavirus prevention

Sanitation workers spraying disinfectants to prevent coronavirus spread. (Photo | EPS, Madhav K)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: As many as 24,000 sanitation workers in Greater Hyderabad limits are living in fear of Covid infection as the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has not provided safety kits to them till date. Waking up to the spread of the deadly virus, though the civic body has decided to provide safety gear to all its sanitation workers by inviting tenders, the process would take at least one more month and till then the labourers will have to continue their daily works by wearing temporary masks. 

It has to be mentioned here that to ensure the safety of sanitation workers, the civic body has to provide them kits containing at least 10 items like face masks, sanitisers, jackets, gloves, caps, towels, raincoats, coconut oil, soaps and shoes.

According to information, the civic body has only been able to provide masks and jackets with reflective stickers as of now though the sanitation workers have been demanding GHMC to provide fully-equipped safety kits.

GHMC officials told Express that the proposal for procuring safety equipments has been okayed and they are in the process of inviting the tenders. However, it would take at least one more month to get the required number of safety kits, the officials added.

Speaking to Express, the GHMC union leaders said that there are over 24,000 sanitation workers in the city and that they are at the highest risk of getting infected.

They are indulged in all sorts of ground-level works like the collection of garbage from households for the safety of the denizens. However, the civic body has not taken proper measures to ensure their safety. If any worker gets infected by Covid, then the civic body will be directly responsible for it. Sanitation workers are some of the most vulnerable labourers as they are exposed to serious occupational, environmental and health hazards, the union leaders noted.

As per the Solid Waste Management Rules of 2016, notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, local authorities have to ensure that all labourers handling solid wastes are provided with safety gear such as face masks, hand gloves, fluorescent jacket, raincoats, footwear and others.

Meanwhile, in a bid to curb the spread of Covid and also to contain it, the GHMC has started spraying Sodium hypochlorite, a disinfecting agent, in the houses of those persons who were tested positive.

Sodium hypochlorite is a broad-spectrum disinfectant that is effective for the disinfection of viruses and bacteria. GHMC officials said that they will disinfect the houses of all people who were tested positive for Covid and also the suspected ones. We will also carry out the same process in their surrounding. In one litre of water we mix five to 7.5 ml of Sodium hypochlorite for spraying, officials added.


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