To investigate the risk of work-related illness in, and the defensive strategies of, women who collect recyclable materials (waste pickers).
A qualitative, exploratory and descriptive study, undertaken with seven collectors from a collective in the Brazilian State of Rio Grande do Sul. Data was produced through systematic participant observation, semi-structured interviews and a focus group, from July to August 2013, and was subjected to thematic content analysis.
The strain that comes from the work may promote the collectors' illness, as it compromises their physical health, psychic integrity and social relationships. The collectors use individual and collective defensive strategies, which aim to minimize the suffering related to labor activity.
Nurses need to consider the work contexts of workers whom they assist in order to act in the promotion of health and prevention of work-related illness.
Occupational Health; Solid Waste Segregators; Working Conditions; Qualitative Research; Nursing