Occupation Hazards – Pattern, Awareness and Preventive Measures among Welders from an Unorganized Sector in India LC23-LC28
Dr. Nitin Joseph,
Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Kasturba Medical College,
Light House Hill Road, Manipal University, Mangalore-575001, Karnataka, India.
Introduction: Welding is an occupation associated with tremendous physical and chemical hazards. In spite of the risk involved, usage of Personal Protective Gears (PPGs) among welders in developing countries has been reported to be poor, due to their limited awareness of occupational hazards.
Aim: To assess morbidity pattern, awareness of occupational hazards and usage practices of protective gears among welders.
Materials and Methods: Cross-sectional study was conducted at welding sites from unorganized sector situated in and around Mangalore. A total of 155 welders chosen randomly from as many sites were interviewed at their workplace using a pilot tested structured interview schedule with both closed and open ended questions. Clinical examination of the participant and inspection of the work site was also done by the investigators. Statistical analysis used for analysis was Chi-Square test, unpaired t-test and ANOVA test.
Results: Working >8 hours a day was reported by 30 (19.4%) welders. Overcrowding was present at 10.3%, ventilation status was inadequate at 6.9% and exhaust ventilation was not present at 25.9% sites. Awareness about anyone occupational health hazards associated with welding was present among 97(62.6%) welders. Periodicity of medical examination was associated with awareness of occupational hazards among welders (p=0.032). First aid kit was present at 60 (38.7%) sites. The most common morbidity over the past year was wounds 119 (76.8%). Non-usage of most essential protective gears such as face shields, masks or eye goggles was seen among 18 (11.6%) welders. Mean number of morbidities over the past one month was found to be more, in those welders doing continuous work of =6 hours (p=0.05), at sites with overcrowding (p=0.002) and at sites where >10 welders work together (p=0.031).
Conclusion: The period prevalence of morbidity was high among the welders surveyed. Ignorance of health hazards associated with occupation and non-usage of protective gears was reported by number of them. Therefore, health education and safety policies need to be strengthened at welding sites.