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The Health Status of Informal Waste Collectors in Korea.


ABSTRACT: Background: A broad, holistic approach was performed among informal waste collectors (IWCs) in Korea to understand their complex multidimensional health and safety problems. Methods: In the quantitative study, a survey of IWCs was conducted at four junk shops in Gangbuk-gu, Seoul, and survey data were used to calculate age-standardized prevalence rates based on comparisons with the general population in Korea. A qualitative study was also performed to provide more details on IWCs' occupational and musculoskeletal injuries and depression. Results: In the quantitative study, the age-standardized prevalence rate (aSPR) of occupational injury was higher than that of the general standard population (aSPR: 10.42, 95% confidence interval (CI) 5.19-18.64) and that of blue-collar workers (aSPR: 4.65, 95% CI 2.32-8.32). Regarding musculoskeletal problems, compared to employed populations, the aSPRs of shoulder pain (aSPR: 2.63, 95% CI 1.60-4.06), wrist pain (aSPR: 3.33, 95% CI 1.33-6.86), knee pain (aSPR: 1.51, 95% CI 1.01-2.17), and ankle pain (aSPR: 3.54, 95% CI 1.14-8.26) were higher. Regarding psychological problems, depression (aSPR: 2.55, 95% CI 1.27-4.56) and suicidal or self-harm ideation (aSPR: 2.09, 95% CI 1.11-3.58) were higher compared to general populations. Through the qualitative study and case study on muscular problems, more details on the work environment problems of IWCs were obtained. Conclusions: IWCs are exposed to various occupational hazards and lack proper protection. They show a high prevalence of occupational injury, musculoskeletal disease, and depression.

SUBMITTER: Ahn J 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7432789 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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