Article Title:
Extending Occupational Health and Safety to Urban Street Vendors: Reflections From a Project in Durban, South Africa
Title of Journal:
New Solutions
Vol. #:
Issue #:
Alfers, Laura, Phumzile Xulu, Richard Dobson and Sujatha Hariparsad.
August, 2016
Publication Type:
Journal Article

New Solutions - Extending Occupational Health and Safety to Urban Street VendorsAbstract: This article focuses on an action-research project which is attempting to extend occupational health and safety to a group of street traders in Durban, South Africa, using a variety of different (and sometimes unconventional) institutional actors. The article is written from the perspective of key people who have played a role in conceptualizing and administering the project and is intended to deepen the conversation about what it means to extend occupational health to the informal economy. It explores this question through a reflection on three key project activities: the setting up of a trader-led health and safety committee, an occupational health and safety training course, and a clinical health assessment. It concludes with a discussion of the issues that emerge from the reflections of project participants, which include the need to bring occupational health and urban health into closer conversation with one another, the need to be cognizant of local “informal” politics and the impact that has on occupational health and safety interventions, and the need to create greater opportunities for occupational health and safety professionals to interact with workers in the informal economy.


Many thanks to Sage Publications and New Solutions for offering free access to all articles in the August 2016 special issue of New Solutions until October 2016.

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