Waste workers

Occupational exposure to microorganisms as related to new waste sorting instructions and the associated reduced frequency rate of waste collection

NFA – Anne Mette Madsen (AMM@NFA.DK)


Target groups:
Researchers, stakeholders, engineering consultants, and professionals in OSH

Project period:
November 2018-December 2019



Recycling is increasing globally, and waste is sorted into new and different fractions. Due to the reduced frequency rate with which specific types of waste are collected, combined with overall rising temperatures, we expect an increased microbial growth in this waste. Furthermore, with the expanded sorting, we expect workers at sorting plants to come into closer proximity to the waste.

To address health concerns associated with this new waste management process, it is necessary to characterise the workers’ exposure and the inflammatory and infective potential of this exposure.

The aims of this project are to:

  • exchange and develop knowledge in this area,
  • review the literature,
  • point towards solutions on how to reduce waste workers’ bioaerosol exposure.


Outcomes/expected results

A workshop will be held in Copenhagen (NFA) on the 4th to the 5th of December, 2018. In preparation for the workshop and the review paper, we have gathered literature on the topic in the form of tables with titles of papers and national reports. The first topic for the workshop will be scientific presentations from the participating research groups. The main outcomes of the project are a scientific review paper and knowledge exchange.

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