Occupational Health Problems of Welders in Benin City, Nigeria
Welding exposes welders to a variety of work-related hazards, which may be deleterious to their health. The awareness of these hazards and the attitude towards them are important factors in the prevention of these hazards among the welders. This study assessed the level of awareness of the hazards, the work-related health complaints and the safety measures employed by the welders in a Nigerian setting. The study was carried out in Benin City, the capital of one the 36 States of Nigeria and was of a cross sectional design. A total sample of the welders was identified from a list of registered workshops and they were interviewed using semi-structured interviewer-administered questionnaires. Data obtained was analysed by the Computer Programme for Epidemiologic Research (CPER) and presented as frequency tables and graph. The average number of welders per workshop was 3.7 with all of them as males and with a mean age of 32.2 ±10.6years. The illiteracy rate was 3.3% and the school dropout rate was 14.9%. The average level of use of protective devices was generally low (35.9%) when compared to the levels of awareness of the workplace hazards (91.6%) and the work-related health complaints (96.4%). The most prevalent health complaints were arc eye injuries (75.7%) followed by foreign bodies in the eyes (70.0%), back/waist pain (52.1%), metal fume fever (43.8%) and cuts/injuries from sharp metals (37.7%); while the common personal protective equipment used were coverall (31.2%), eye goggles (35.9%) and hand gloves (20.8%). None of them used any form of ear or respiratory protection. The levels of awareness of occupational hazards and the work-related health problems among the welders though high was not commensurate with the use of safety and protective devices against the hazards. There is therefore need for health and safety education of these workers in order to promote positive health among them.
Keywords: Occupational Health Hazards, Welders, Nigeria
Journal of Medicine and Biomedical Research Vol. 5 (1) 2006: pp. 64-69