Occupational safety and health status of medical laboratories in Kajiado County, Kenya
Introduction: Despite the increasing interest in Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), seldom studies are available on OSH in medical laboratories from developing countries in general although a high number of injuries occur without proper documentation. It is estimated that every day 6,300 people die as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases resulting in over 2.3 million deaths per year. Medical laboratories handle a wide range of materials, potentially dangerous pathogenic agents and exposes health workers to numerous potential hazards. This study evaluated the status of OSH in medical laboratories in Kajiado County, Kenya. The objectives included establishment of biological, chemical and physical hazards; reviewing medical laboratories control measures; and enumerating factors hindering implementation of good practices in OSH. Methods: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study research design. Observation check lists, interview schedules and structured questionnaires were used. The study was carried out in 108 medical laboratories among 204 sampled respondents. Data was analysed using statistical package for social science (SPSS) 20 software. Results: The commonest type of hazards in medical laboratories include; bacteria (80%) for Biological hazards; handling un-labelled and un-marked chemicals (38.2%) for chemical hazards; and laboratory equipment's dangerously placed (49.5%) for Physical hazards. According to Pearson's Product Moment Correlation analysis, not-wearing personal protective equipment's was statistically associated with exposure to hazards. Individual control measures were statistically significant at 0.01 significance level. Only 65.1% of the factors influencing implementation of OSH in medical laboratories were identified. Conclusion: Training has the highest contribution to good OSH practices.