To minimise the harmful effects of inhaling poisonous gases while cleaning sewers, Delhi government is planning to impart training to 20,000-odd sewage workers of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB).
A number of sewage workers have died in the past after coming in contact with the poisonous gases emanating out of sewers. The High Court, too, had taken cognizance in the matter and had asked the government to provide them safety kits.
According to the workers’ union, more than 1,500 sewage workers have died in the past while carrying out their work.
“Most of the labourers are contractual and are not provided with any safety kit. Most of them are not even aware of the health hazard involved in their work,” said Devraj Bhadana, general secretary, Delhi Jan Man Karamchari Sangh.
The move of the government is aimed at making the workers aware of the health hazard involved in cleaning the sewers.
“Methane and hydrogen sulphide gases that are found in the sewage are highly toxic. A person can suffer from breathing difficulty, asthma or even lung damage if exposed to these gases for a long time and can land them in the intensive care unit too,” said Dr Neeraj Jain, senior chest specialist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
A module will be prepared by the Directorate of training Union Territory Civil Services within a month’s time and will focus on teaching how to perform their jobs safely
“There are a number of workers who don’t even wear masks that are mandatory as they are not aware about it,” said a Delhi government official.
According to sources, DJB had approached the government, asking them to create a programme through which their workers could learn how to do their jobs safely and effectively. The course will start in phases.
“A module will be prepared by us, which will take into consideration the latest techniques that are used world over as a safety measure. If such techniques can’t be introduced at the moment, we will recommend that for future use,” added the official.