Perception of environmental health risks among workers in a food and animal feed manufacturing industry, Jos, Nigeria
Background: Workplace safety relies partially on workers' ability to recognize hazards that could result in personal injury. This study aimed to determine the perception of industrial workers to the environmental risks that they are exposed to and their practice of self protection through the use of PPE.
Methods: It was a descriptive cross-sectional study conducted among 128 workers of a cereal, oil and animal feeds manufacturing industry located in Jos South LGA of Plateau State. Data was obtained through a structured interviewer administered questionnaire and analyzed with Epi-Info 3.5.4.
Results: Mean age of respondents was 31.3 ± 7.4 years and it was a predominantly male population (91.4%). There were multiple sources of information on risks. Most (99.2%) respondents obtained information from the media. Environmental factors perceived as 'high risk' were noise pollution (49.2%), air pollution from dust (46.1%), exposure to chemicals (45.3%) and accidents with machinery (45.3%). The mean self-perception score was 18.0 ± 3.4 and 78.1% of respondents had good perception of risk. There was inconsistent use of PPE by 83% of factory and laboratory workers.
Conclusion: Good perception of risk was found among the workers but with poor consistent use of PPE. Results of the study may be used to design policies and programmes to help workers identify environmental health risks, and improve their attitude toward self protection.
Keywords: risk perception, industrial workers, personal protective equipment