Occupational accident: An example of fatalistic beliefs among medical waste workers in Bangladesh

Masum A. Patwary, William T. O’Hare, Mosharraf H. Sarker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study was conducted to see whether fatalism is an important factor in explaining occupational accidents among medical waste operatives in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Data were collected using a variety of qualitative techniques and included observation, formal and informal dialogue. Sampling strategies included formal representative sampling, purposive and authoritative sampling. Employers did not supply PPE or offer training to their staff. Most workers (73%) did not wear PPE regularly, and a further 18% wore only insufficient PPE. Consequently, most waste workers (95%) reported that they had experienced occupational accidents, mostly (75%) from used needles and other sharps. These observations were associated
with fatalistic beliefs among the participants, both managers and employees, who attributed these events to ‘‘fate’’ reflecting their perceived lack of control over such accidents. This study reveals many examples of a lack of organisational awareness that can occur within a culture of fatalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-82
JournalSafety Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


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