Assessment of occupational hazards, health problems and safety practices of petrol station attendants in Uyo, Nigeria
Background: Petrol station attendants encounter several hazards and health problems while working. This study was conducted to determine the occupational hazards, health problems and safety practices of petrol station attendants in Uyo, Nigeria.
Methods: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study carried out among all consenting attendants working in filling stations owned by independent petroleum marketers in Uyo. Data was collected using structured interviewer-administered questionnaire and analyzed using STATA 12.1 software. Analysis employed descriptive and inferential statistics. Level of significance was set at 5%.
Results: A total of 215 respondents participated in the study. The mean age of respondents was 24.3 ± 4.6 years with 117 (54.4%) being females. Hazards reported included inhalation of petrol fumes 145 (67.4%), confrontation from customers 112 (52.1%) and noise 98 (45.6%). Health problems reported included headache (53.6%), low back pain (33.3%), eye irritation (29.5%), dizziness (24.6%), cough (18.6%) and nausea (18.6%). There was a statistically significant association between having headache, nausea, cough and inhalation of petrol vapour (p<0.01) or car exhaust fumes (p<0.05). Awareness about personal protective equipment was 30.7%, while use was 7.0%. Hand washing after contact with fuel was practiced by 73.5% of the respondents. Only 4.2% reported ever undergoing pre- or post-employment medical examination.
Conclusion: Petrol station attendants in this study were exposed to various hazards and health problems. Awareness and use of PPE was very low. Efforts should be made by stakeholders to ensure that owners of filling stations take responsibility for the health and safety of their workers.
Keywords: Petrol station attendants; Occupational hazards; Health problems; Safety practices; Uyo, Nigeria