Occupational Medicine & Health Affairs
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The University environment is knowledge-based and it accommodates the informal economy operators (IEOs), who also
serve as providers of various services for the entire university community. The field of Occupational Health and Safety
(OHS) does not usually cover these informal workers, even when they are working in the formal setting. OHS focuses on
formal workplaces. This paper focuses on occupational hazards prevalent among the IEOs purposely selected in the University
of Ibadan and Lagos State University, Ojo, Nigeria. It assesses the level of awareness of OHS, the precautionary measures put in
place, if any by these IEOs. Focus group discussions (FGDs) were arranged with different segments of the IEOs in the selected
Universities. Interviews were conducted with the representatives of the leadership of the various associations of the operators,
as well as some key members of the selected Universities? administration. The findings reveal the enormous contributions of
the IEOs in Universities as well as the reciprocal impact the Universities also have on them. It reveals that some jobs in the
economy are based on sex. On the issue of OHS, it was revealed that the IEOs pay no attention to OHS issues as the necessary
precautionary measures and personal occupational health awareness are lacking. Access to health management centre within
the universities was not opened to the IEOs. The paper suggests ways of improving this phenomenon and recommends that
the University authorities should integrate the IEOs into their health service programmes, even if they need to pay to avoid the
IEOs dying by instalment.
Oluranti Samuel is a lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Lagos State University, Lagos, Nigeria. He is currently a Doctoral Student in Sociology, Archie Mafeje
Research Institute, College of Graduate Studies, University of South Africa.
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