A Qualitative Study of Psychosocial Work Environment among Sanitation Workers of a Teaching Hospital in South India

Cynthia S Subhaprada, Venkateswarlu Uppara, Sreedevi Arepalli


Objective: Occupational health, today, looks at a new idea, i.e., psychological health and safety which is about safeguarding the psychological health of employee by providing a workplace that promotes employees’ psychological well-being by preventing psychological harm to employee. The purpose of this study is to assess the psychosocial work environment among sanitation workers.

Methods: A qualitative study was carried out during June-July, 2016 among women sanitation workers of Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, South India. Institutional Ethical Committee clearance and the permission from the work supervisor were obtained. Out of 33 women sanitation workers, 10 women fulfilling the inclusion criteria, selected by purposive and criterion sampling, were identified as the discussion participants. Informed consent was obtained. Focus group discussion was conducted to explore the opinions and views on their psychological well-being influenced by job satisfaction, psychosocial safety, social support, workload and physical health. The observations were recorded and qualitative data analysis was done by ordering and coding.

Results: The preliminary thematic analysis of data showed that all of them agree on job satisfaction, social support, good interpersonal relations and sufficient time to complete the allotted work on a single working day of 8 hours duration, hence psychological safety and protection. Most of them opined that they did not have to quit the job due to work related health issues but were of the view that in the long run, they would develop knee joint problems and backache. They suggested that incentives and rewards need to be given to boost them. Job insecurity was a common fear among them as it is contractual in nature.

Conclusions: Good interpersonal relationship, social support and good psychosocial environment are the common themes. They should be given assurance on job security with periodic performance appraisal.


Interpersonal relations, Psychological well being, Social support

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