Keywords: occupational health and safety, safety measures, healthcare workers, medical waste handling, risk assessment, Gaza Strip, Palestine, healthcare waste management, hospital waste, hospitals, training, best practice, waste disposal
Rapid assessment of occupational health and safety measures for personnel handling healthcare waste in the Gaza Strip, Palestine
Proper healthcare waste (HCW) management practices and precautions are crucial to avoid occupational and environmental health problems amongst healthcare workers. This study aims to assess the occupational health and safety of healthcare workers involved in medical waste handling in two hospitals in the Gaza Strip, Palestine. This study was cross–sectional in design, and a simple random sampling technique was used to distribute a semi–structured questionnaire among 164 healthcare workers at two hospitals, one public and one private, in the Gaza Strip. The results show that occupational health and safety amongst hospital healthcare workers is low. This may be attributable to poor implementation of protective measures and a deficiency in implementing training courses about healthcare waste management and associated hazards. The authors recommend that the Ministry of Health and healthcare institutions increase their focus on the design and implementation of policies for best practice management and disposal of healthcare waste in Palestine.