Reported Occupational Hazards and Illnesses among Hairdressers in Ibadan, SouthWest Nigeria
BACKGROUND: Hairdressers work in small scale enterprises with little or no health supervision in the workplace.
OBJECTIVE: To identify workplace hazards and health problems of workers in this trade.
METHODS: A cross sectional study was conducted in hairdressing salons in Ibadan, Southwest Nigeria. Questionnaires were administered to a total of 355 hairdressers by trained interviewers. Information on work conditions,
workplace hazards, accidents and current illnesses was obtained.
RESULTS: All respondents were females comprising 295 qualified hairdressers and 60 apprentices. They were aged 15–49 years, mean 29±6.9 years. With respect to work conditions, hairdressers complained of long working hours, poor earnings and prolonged standing. Occupational hazards identified included needles used for fixing hair attachments, 157 (44%), hair relaxing creams, 114 (32%), blades, 38 (11%), handling
hot water, 16 (4%) and electrical equipment, 8 (2%). Types of accidents reported were needle pricks, cuts, accidents involving hot water and electric shock. Joint pains (21%) and low back pain (19%) were the most frequently reported illnesses among hairdressers. Hand dermatitis was reported by 5% of hairdressers.
CONCLUSION: The hairdressers’ work environment has predominantly mechanical and chemical hazards. Long working hours and poor earnings in a physically demanding job, as highlighted in this study are characteristic of small scale enterprises. The regulation of work conditions in this sector continues to pose a challenge to occupational health authorities in developing countries.
WAJM 2009; 28(1): 310–313.