"Our Work, Our Health, No One's Concern": Domestic Waste Collectors' Perceptions of Occupational Safety and Self-Reported Health Issues in an Urban Town in Ghana

Samuel Yaw Lissah*, Martin Amogre Ayanore, John K. Krugu, Matilda Aberese-Ako, Robert A. C. Ruiter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Domestic waste collectors face major public health hazards that result in injuries and morbidity globally. This study explored domestic waste collectors' perceptions of occupational safety and self-reported health issues in a city in Ghana using a phenomenological qualitative research design. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were held with 64 domestic waste collectors from two waste companies. The transcribed data were imported into NVivo 11.0 software (QSR International, Burlington, MA, USA) for coding, and a content analysis was applied to analyze all the transcribed data using the processes of induction and deduction. The consensual views from the domestic waste collectors showed the waste-company employers' non-interest in the domestic waste collectors' occupational safety and health. Poor communication from employers to domestic waste collectors and huge workloads were identified as the causes of the poor implementation of occupational safety practices, which exposed the domestic waste collectors to occupational health hazards. The domestic waste collectors reported that they suffered from occupational injuries, psychosocial disorders, work-related stress, and frequent burnout. The domestic waste collectors adopted coping strategies, such as self-medication, to deal with these occupational hazards, since most of them were not covered by guaranteed health insurance. In addition, the study revealed the non-compliance and non-enforcement of occupational health and safety policies by the employers to guide health and safety training and practices among the domestic waste collectors. In conclusion, the findings suggest that DWCs are exposed to occupational safety and health hazards in their work. Waste-company employers should extend welfare benefits to DWCs, such as health insurance and social security benefits, to ensure their security, health, and well-being. The findings could inform the design of intervention programs and policies to guide training and practices for domestic waste collectors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6539
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2022


  • Ghana
  • domestic waste collectors
  • occupational health and safety
  • qualitative methods
  • self-reported health

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