The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), on Saturday held a daylong training for sewerage workers and sanitary truck drivers in a bid to ensure good health and safety in the sewerage industry.
The training extensively exposed participants to relevant health related issues such as personal preventive measures and techniques, while encouraging truck drivers to frequently wear their protective gears while at work. Each truck driver was given a set of protective gears aimed at maintaining their personal health.
Matarr Touray, a Senior Economist for PURA said that the purpose of the training was to sensitise stakeholders in the sewerage sector particularly the truck drivers and the facility owners on health and technique safety. Sewerage, he said is a critical sector, noting that it’s important the best practices are adhered to.
He described PURA as a multi-sector regulatory body dealing with many sectors including sewerage, but noted that their collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the Department of Labour has made this particular training possible. He also hailed the National Environment Agency (NEA) for their active role in the training.
He called on truck drivers to always wear their protective gears, which he said, would help in their personal safety. “We give them these Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect themselves,” he said, pointing out that the token given to truck drivers was just a beginning and that it would entice them to start buying for themselves in the long run.
Presenting on Environmental Consequences of Poor Sewerage Disposal, Muhammed J. Jabang, of NEA reminded participants about the existence of the Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), which he said, could be found in sewerages as they travel a very long distance.
These POPs, he said, are equally very harmful to human health and that they can cause serious diseases. He advised sewerage workers to be mindful of them by always putting in protective gears. Jabang showed participants a picture of water drawn from a polluted well; indicating improper disposal of sewerage that could lead to those kind of things.
He narrated an incident in which NEA officials have found a truck driver disposing sewerage in the wetland in the provinces and then swiftly arrested and addressed the situation. He warned truck drivers to desist from such attitudes as they can cause more harm than good.
Baboucarr Loum, from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, who presented on Personal Hygiene and Health Effects of a Sewerage Contamination, said each year, sewerage workers around the world suffer related illnesses as a result of their work.
He said that it’s not only sewerage workers who are at risk, but even local authorities who inspect them, construction workers as well as sewerage repairers. He therefore, advised workers to be constantly wearing their protective gears while at work, noting that it would help minimise the chance of getting an illness.
On personal hygiene, Loum advised participants to be using soap in washing their hands for a minimum of 30 second before they eat anything or have personal contact with other people. This, he said, would ensure good health and personal hygiene.
by Bekai Njie