Background: There is high prevalence of occupational injuries among blue-collar workers in the construction and other industry sectors whose jobs require high level risk in physical tasks.
Aims & Objectives: The objective of this study was to assess the awareness of occupational hazards and safety practices among Nigerian sawmill workers.
Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional survey recruited 94 sawmill workers comprising machine operators, planks pushers/carriers and planks vendors at Ile-Ife, Nigeria. A structured questionnaire developed from related studies was used as the survey instrument. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Results: The mean age and the number of years at saw mill were 38.28+11.67 and 7.66+6.55 years respectively. More than half of the respondents were aware of occupational hazards. Sawmill dust (95.7%), noise pollution (81.8%) and crush injury from machine (75.5%) were the most implicated risks to health hazards. Occasional hazards were largely difficulty with breathing (56.4%) and hearing (35.1%). Occasional and constant back pain was reported by 45.7% and 38.3% of the respondents respectively. 59.7% of the respondents agreed that safety devices were necessary for safety at workplace. Face masks (78.7%), protective goggle (40.4%) and hand gloves (18.1%) were implicated as necessary devices. Only 34.0% of the respondents use face mask regularly as a safety device. However, 72.3% to 79.8% of the respondents never utilized safety devices.
Conclusion: There was high level of awareness but incorrect conceptualizations of occupational hazards among Nigerian sawmill workers. The workers were exposed to various occupational injuries but showed poor compliance with safety devices utilization.
Saw Mill; Workers; Labourer; Occupational Hazard; Safety Practices