Occupational Safety and Health Accidents among Biomedical Waste Handlers in Nairobi County

Mburu Moses Nguthu, Gikunju Joseph K., Onguso M. Justus, Wakibia Joseph


This study was conducted to investigate the reasons for prevalent increase in the number of occupational accidents among biomedical waste handlers despite the Waste Management Authority’s regulatory framework defining the laws and procedures that govern the collection, storage, processing, and disposal of biomedical waste in Nairobi County and recommend appropriate actions to counter the situation . The two areas of investigation consisted of determining the causes of occupational accidents and evaluating the attitude and knowledge of biomedical waste handlers in Nairobi County. Both, the qualitative and quantitative research paradigms were used in the study. A sample size of 168 participants from the target population of 1000 biomedical waste handlers was chosen with 160 questionnaires returned for statistical analysis. The study used a descriptive statistics approach to generate tables with the mean, standard error of the mean, t-distributions, percentages, and significance tests among other statistical measures to address the research objectives on the basis of the Petersen’s Accident/Incident and the human factors theories. On the causes of accidents, the results showed strong positive Skewness indicating problems with waste management practices, inadequate knowledge on waste classification at source, inadequate attention to rules and regulations governing the collection and handling of biomedical waste, inadequate training and awareness, poor enforcement of waste handling standards and policies, and inadequate knowledge on the classification and handling of biomedical waste. This revealed the nature of accidents to include pricks, contaminations, muscle tearing, scratches, being struck by falling objects and sustaining injuries due to falls. On knowledge and attitude of biomedical waste handlers, significant challenges were revealed showing that inadequate knowledge on safe waste handling methods with a significant number showing that their educational attainments barred them from comprehending the regulations and procedures for handling biomedical waste. A significance test at Kendall's tau coefficient statistic showed strong positive correlation between educational levels and managing biomedical waste. It was recommended that the Waste Management Authority designs a customized training program to address the problems facing biomedical waste handlers in Nairobi County.

Keywords: Biomdedical waste, hazards, Accidents, Waste Management, injuries, pricks, Nairobi County

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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