The health effects of welding on welders in the Capricorn District, Limpopo Province, South Africa
A quantitative study was conducted to document the health effects of welding on welders in five municipalities in the Capricorn District, Limpopo Province, South Africa. Two hundred and fifty (250) female and male road side welders and those self-employed in small workshops at home were selected using the snowballing sampling method. The majority (67%) of the welders come from the Polokwane municipality which is situated in an urban area and is the capital city of the Limpopo province. The metal used by almost all the welders (224; 98%) was iron and an insignificant number used zinc and aluminium. The majority of the welders had never consulted a doctor in the 12 months preceding the study. It is suspected that because iron was used by the majority of welders it produced less adverse health effects. About 18% consulted for injuries although not all those injuries were due to welding. The most common injury reported was burns (46%). The body parts mostly injured (79.6) were the hands and it is not surprising because only 40% used gloves while welding. Only 1(2%) sustained facial injuries; this low incidence could be attributed to the fact that all welders reported that they use face shields. It is recommended that similar studies be conducted in industrial areas where other metals are used for welding.
Keywords: Welders, personal protective equipment (PPE), hazard, occupational health hazard, fumes.
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