Promoting Workplace Health and Safety in Urban Public Space: Reflections from Durban, South Africa

Laura Alfers, Phumzile Xulu, Richard Dobson
  • Article Title: Promoting workplace health and safety in urban public space: reflections from Durban, South Africa
  • Title of Journal: Environment and Urbanization
  • Vol #: 28
  • Issue #: 2

This special issue on urban livelihoods was developed in collaboration with WIEGO.

Abstract: This article is a critical reflection on the Phephanathi Platform, an ongoing collaboration among organizations of informal traders working in the Warwick Junction markets in Durban, South Africa and their support organizations. The purpose of the Platform is to experiment with the extension of occupational health and safety to informal workers working in urban public space through the establishment of an integrated urban health platform. The article is concerned not only with the practical aspects of the Platform, but also assesses the Platform as a political strategy. It focuses on two key pieces of work – the design and rollout of first aid stands into the markets, and the attempt to institutionalize occupational health and safety for informal workers within the local municipality. The article concludes with a meta-reflection on the work, elaborating on some of the important questions that are raised and drawing out the implications for integrating occupational health and safety into the urban environment.

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