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Indian Journal of Community Medicine

Morbidity Profile and Knowledge of Occupational Hazards among Jute Mill Workers

Author(s): Dr. Sanjay Kumar, Prof. S. Nagesh, B. K. Yadav

Vol. 31, No. 2 (2006-04 - 2006-06)

This was a cross sectional study carried out in a jute mill situated in the Eastern Region of Nepal, using convenient sampling because of limited time. 240 out of 600 workers from six divisions were enrolled in the study. Self reported health problems in the last one year for which they went for treatment either inside or outside the factory were considered as morbidities.

Majority of the subjects belonged to 30-40 years (40%) followed by 20 - 30 years (25%) and 40-50 (18%) years. One quarter workers were illiterate and almost same percentage had primary and middle level of education. 27% were smokers while 16% were taking alcohol regularly. More than half (55%) were working for more than 5 years and a quarter for 1-5 years. Among two third reported for health problems, 38 % had respiratory problems followed by physical injury (20%), headache (14%), dermatitis (7%), acid peptic disease (6%) and diminished vision (6%) respectively. Nearly one third (32% and 30%) were aware about accidents and respiratory problems as occupational hazards. Other hazards known to the workers were headache (17%), hearing loss (13%), and skin problem (11%). 2% workers pointed out tuberculosis, hypertension and diabetes as health hazards from jute.

This study demonstrated that the burden of respiratory problem was commonest health problem (38%) as has been found in another study2. Injury is one of the leading health problems of the workers in these industries3. These health problems are due to dusts and manual machines operated by the workers. Other problem like headache could be due to eye strain because of low illumination of the working place. We found that workers having headache had taken analgesics very frequently in empty stomach making prone to gastric ulceration, Use of dye is the usual cause of dermatitis. Diminished vision among workers could be due to refractive error. The reason for low prevalence of hearing loss may be due to difficulty in differentiating mild degree of hearing loss by the workers.

It can be concluded that working in the jute mill have definite effect on the health of the jute mill workers. Morbidities are mainly due to dusts and chemicals as well as ignorance at working place in the industry. These health problems can be reduced by the use of protective measures by the workers as well as by modifying the working environment.

References

  1. Last J M. A Dictionary of Epidemiology. 3rd edition. Oxford University Press. 1995; p-118.
  2. Murlidhar Y, Murlidhar Y J , Kanhere V. Bysinnosis in a Bombay textile mill. Nat Med J Ind 1995; 8 (5): 204 -7.
  3. Matto G M, Rauf A, Zutshi M L. Health status of school children employed in carpet weaving in Ganderbal block. Br J Ind Med 1986; 43 (10): 698 - 701.

Dr. Sanjay Kumar, Prof. S. Nagesh, B. K. Yadav
Department of Community Medicine
B. P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan, Nepal
E-mail: [email protected], [email protected]
Received: 29.9.2004

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