The National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC) has asked local bodies to ensure that all sanitation workers are provided personal protective equipment (PPE) to remain safe during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
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Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawarchand Gehlot said on Tuesday that the NSFDC, which is a government undertaking under the Ministry, had issued an advisory to all municipalities and panchayats for ensuring safety of sanitation workers and waste collectors.
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The April 7 advisory said sanitation workers and waste collectors, including informal workers, were among the “silent groups of people who are working tirelessly to prevent the spread of the coronavirus”.
“When it comes to risking their lives for the protection of others, in the present times, they are at par with doctors, healthcare workers and policemen,” the advisory said.
All local bodies were asked to put in place a standard operating procedure for the safety of sanitation staff. There should be mandatory orientation for sanitation workers on COVID-19, social distancing norms and precautionary measures, it said. The local bodies were asked to provide equipment, including masks, gloves, gumboots and jackets, as well as soaps and hand sanitisers for helping maintain hygiene.