Workers who are around human waste and wastewater need to have proper safety protocol in place. This is a dangerous job that may lead to serious health issues if those measures aren't followed. The environment in which they work has a big impact on what risks they face, but there are some present no matter what situation they are in.
It is easy to assume that the workers should be the ones who make the effort to remain safe, but the onus is actually on the employer. The entity that hired the employee is responsible for making sure that there are appropriate measures in place and that there is suitable equipment to keep people safe.
Risks that workers face near sewage
One of the primary hazards that workers face when they are around wastewater and human waste is disease-causing organisms. These include parasitic worms, viruses, bacteria and protozoa. These can cause infection and other health complications if the worker is exposed to them. This risk must be minimized.
There are several ways to reduce the chance of contamination from these hazards. Using gloves when they are working is one of the best methods. Using face shields or safety glasses and masks can prevent the worker from having exposure through the mouth, nose and eyes.
Any open cuts must be covered appropriately. Open sores and lacerations provide an easy entry into the body for these organisms. Additionally, no employees should eat or drink in the area near the sewage because of the risk of contamination and ingestion.
These workers must also be careful when they are dealing with their shoes and clothing. There organisms can contaminate those items and workers must be careful not to contaminate other areas. One option that might minimize the risk is using disposable shoe covers and overalls that can be thrown away immediately.
Addressing worker injuries
No matter where they are working, all workers who are around sewage need to have access to a first aid kit. There should be water that can be used to rinse out cuts or even to flush out the eyes if they come into contact with wastewater. It also needs to contain an antibacterial spray and bandages in case a cut occurs.
Many things happen through the course of a day's work. For these individuals, trying to remain safe can be a challenge. If they suffer an injury or may have been exposed to a contaminate in a way that might cause harm, they should seek medical care. Illinois Workers' compensation should cover the expense related to this.