Annals of African Medicine
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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 46-51

Awareness of occupational hazards and utilization of safety measures among welders in kaduna metropolis, Northern Nigeria

1 Department of Community Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria
2 Department of Community Medicine, Bayero University and Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
K Sabitu
Department of Community Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1596-3519.55764

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Background : Welders are exposed to a variety of occupational hazards with untoward health effects. However, little is known of welders' awareness of health hazards and their adherence to safety precautions in developing countries. This study assessed the awareness of occupational hazards and adherence to safety measures among welders in Kaduna metropolis in northern Nigeria. Methods : A structured questionnaire was administered on a cross-section of 330 welders in Kaduna metropolis in northern Nigeria. Information was sought on their socio-demographic characteristics, their awareness of occupational hazards and adherence to safety measures. Results : All welders were males with a mean age of 35.7 ± 8.4 years. The illiteracy rate was 7.6%. Overall, 257 (77.9%) of the welders were aware of one or more workplace hazards. This was positively influenced by educational attainment, age, nature of training and work experience. Of the 330 respondents, 282 (85.3%) had experienced one or more work-related accidents in the preceding year. The most common injuries sustained were cut/injuries to the hands and fingers (38.0%), back/waist pain (19%), arc eye injuries/foreign bodies (17.0%), burns (14.0%), hearing impairment (7.0%), fractures (4.0%) and amputation (1.0%). Only 113 (34.2%) welders used one or more types of protective device with eye goggles (60.9%), hand gloves (50.3%) and boots (34.5%) being more frequently used. Regular use of safety device, shorter working hours and increasing experience were protective of occupational accidents. Conclusions : The level of awareness of occupational hazards was high with sub optimal utilization of protective measures against the hazards. There is therefore need for health and safety education of these workers for health and increased productivity.

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