PERCEPTION AND UTILISATION OF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

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PERCEPTION AND UTILISATION OF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

ABSTRACT

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is any material, device, equipment or clothing used or worn by workers to protect them from exposure or contact with any harmful material or energy which may cause injury, disease or even death. The study assessed utilization of PPE among workers in grain and oil seed milling industries in Uyo. Despite the benefits of using PPE, little information has been documented especially among workers in the food industries not only in Kenya but globally. The study adopted a cross sectional descriptive design. Purposive sampling technique was used to select Uyo. Simple random sampling was used to select 3 industries that were included in the study. Random sampling technique was also used to select a sample of 342 workers from the selected industries. Questionnaires and observation checklists were used to collect both quantitative and qualitative data which was analyzed using SPSS version 20 and the results presented in form of graphs, figures, frequency tables and narration.  Chi- square was used to test the research hypothesis at p<0.05 significance level. The study results showed that majority of workers in these industries were below 35 years (59.9%), who were male (57.49%), married (72.9%), and with secondary school education (36.3%). Approximately (45.1%) of workers confirmed having suffered various forms of injuries. The occupational injuries experienced by the workers vary with demographics with cuts being the most prevalent injury (40.3%), followed by abrasions (31.2%), with burns being least prevalent (6.6%). Generally, male workers below 35 years of age dominated the injury cases with head, arms, legs, and chest emerging to be the body parts most affected. The injuries were most caused by body stress and knocks by objects. Majority of the workers (73%) confirmed to have suffered occupational illnesses with occupational asthma (23%) and skin dermatitis (18%) dominating. Less than half of the workers (45.1%) were found to be using PPE. Hand gloves, dust masks and overall were the types of PPE mostly used by workers in preventing injuries and illness. The factors that emerged to significantly influence PPE use included acceptability, availability, attractive and not using PPE despite being trained and aware of the hazard. There was no significant relationship between lack of coworker/supervisor influence to use of PPE and social demographics. It is recommended that employers and other stakeholder intensify their roles on PPE policy guidelines, training and awareness campaigns, compliance surveillance on PPE use by all workers in these industries as well as ensure a safe working environment.  Employers should ensure that PPE are available, accessible, well fitting and comfortable to wear and that they are used appropriately and consistently by the workers at all times. Ministry of labour and its partners should carry out capacity building for staff in these industries to enable them provide more PPE and hence increase its utilization.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

This chapter introduces the study. It gives the background information of study, statement of the problem, justification, hypothesis, objectives and conceptual framework among other sections.

1.1 Background of the Study

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is any material, device, equipment or clothing which is used or worn by a worker to protect them from exposure or contact with any harmful material or energy which may cause injury, disease or even death to the worker (Pyrek, 2011). According to Torp (2005), the PPE often used in the food industries include gloves, Slip-resistant safety boots, overalls, earplugs, helmets, goggles or face shields and disposal masks.

The use of PPE is a universal and legal requirement to protect workers against occupational injuries and illnesses in their workplace. These personalized items are very useful, as without them, workers could be exposed to a variety of toxic substances, chemicals, radiation, or incidents, which could result in occupational diseases, injuries, or even fatalities (OSHA, 2009). Although personal protection is often seen as an inexpensive solution of controlling occupational hazards, little consideration is given to the selection of suitable and effective devices, the maintenance of the devices and to the training of persons using the devices (Pyrek, 2011).

A study by Fierro (2013) found that workers in grain and oil seed milling industries are exposed to numerous hazards that can be prevented through the use of PPE. Another study done on grain and oil seed milling industries in Al-Khobar Saudi Arabia further revealed that about 60% of workers did not use any PPE (Taha, 2010). Other studies done in Nigeria, South Africa, and Ghana have particularly shown that most occupational injuries and illnesses are caused by inhalation of toxic dust and chemicals and that precautionary measures against exposures to hazards at the workplace by using PPE are still generally poor or nonexistent (Muula et al., 2010).

In Kenya a study by (MOH, 2007), showed that 58% of workers in the grain and oil seed industries lack sufficient access to occupational health services, especially PPE, exposing them to occupational hazards, injuries and illnesses which sometimes are fatal. Workers in these food industries are exposed to numerous hazardous risks that need attention. It is against this background that this study was conceived to assess utilization of PPE among workers in grain and oil seed milling industries in Uyo, Kenya.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The availability, access, and proper utilization of PPE are important in a country and across all industries, but more so in the grain and oil seed milling industries where there is a lot of physical and manual activities. This is particularly because occupational injuries and illnesses pose major public health and developmental problems which, result in serious health, social, and economic consequences on workers and their employers (ILO, 2008).

Worldwide 2.3 million workers succumb to injuries/illnesses every year, corresponding to 6000 deaths every single day (ILO, 2008). Globally, the grain and oil seed industries have one of the highest injury rates in the food manufacturing sector and accounted for 43.9% of all injuries in 2006/2007 (HSE, 2007). Recently, it has been confirmed that about 65 % of workers in grain and oil seed industries suffer from a high rate of injuries due to poor compliance to PPE use in their work place (BLS, 2010). While employers strive to procure and provide PPE as required by legislation for employees, the equipment is not used effectively and this is further compounded by lack of information about PPE, negative attitudes towards using them, or lack of encouragement by the management. Others blame the workers’ ignorance among other factors found to result to increase in occupational injuries and illness.

According to Wafula et al., (2013) data on occupational injuries and illnesses among workers in manufacturing industries are often unavailable and when they do, are incomplete, unreliable or generally describe poor occupational health situations among workers. This study is therefore an attempt to unravel the nature of PPE services offered, injuries and illness suffered, level of PPE use and the factors influencing PPE utilization among workers in grain and oil seed milling industries in Uyo, Kenya with a view of recommending best practices to minimize injuries and illnesses.

1.3 Justification of the Study

Occupational injuries, illness and even deaths are serious public health concerns. Everyone must work to earn a living. All of us must also work for economic development of our countries. This means that people spend most of their lifetimes working and in their work places, some five and others six days in a week. The work environment is therefore very important as it is the commonest setting in which occupational injuries, illness and even deaths occur. Yet, studies have shown that more than 90% of these injuries are preventable by the adoption of safety measures, appropriate and consistent use of PPE (Chepkener, 2013).

In Kenya, Uyo is the commercial hub of the country, housing many of the food manufacturing industries. Therefore, most of the grain and oil seed milling industry workers work and reside within the County. This geographical location then presents the ideal cluster of the required grain and oil seed milling industry workers best for investigation of the nature of exposures to occupational injuries, illnesses and PPE utilization at work environments in Kenya.

The study also comes at an ideal time when the level of industrialization is politically encouraged and increasing in Kenya as indicated in the Vision 20 30.

In recent study, Wafula et al., (2013) concludes that, despite the importance of using PPE to control occupational injuries and illnesses, very little information has been documented in the study area. Workers in grain and oil seed milling industries are exposed to numerous workplace hazards that expose them to occupational injuries and illnesses which can be prevented by use of PPE appropriately and consistently.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What are the common types of self reported occupational injuries and illnesses among workers in grain and oil seed milling industries in Uyo?
  2. What is the level of use of PPE among workers in grain and oil seed milling industries in Uyo?
  3. What are the factors influencing the use of PPE among workers in grain and oil seed milling industries in Uyo?

1.5 Null hypothesis

Utilization of PPE is not influenced by availability, accessibility, and consistency of PPE usage among workers in grain and oil seed milling industries in Uyo, Kenya.

1.6 Objectives of the study

1.6.1 General objective

To assess utilization of PPE among workers in grain and oil seed milling industries in Uyo, Kenya.

1.6.2 Specific Objectives

  1. To establish the common types of self reported occupational injuries and illnesses among workers in grain and oil seed milling industries in Uyo.
  2. To determine the level of use of PPE among workers in grain and oil seed milling industries in Uyo.
  3. To identify the factors influencing the use of PPE among workers in grain and oil seed milling industries in Uyo.

1.7 Significance of the Study

The results of this study will be of invaluable use to policy makers and the government of Kenya as they reflect the situation on the ground in regard to PPE utilization in grain and oil seed milling industries in Kenya. The government will use the study results to enhance the industrial workers’ safety policy documents. Other stakeholders, especially the workers’ Unions and employers will use the results to educate workers on the importance of PPE in work places. In this way, proper administrative measures will be put in place with a view of ensuring compliance with government policies, laws and education regarding PPE availability, access and utilization. Such measures are necessary in improving and encouraging the utilization of PPE among workers of these industries to help reduce injuries, illnesses and deaths. The study’s findings also provide baseline information for related studies in the area.

1.8 limitation and Delimitation of the Study

1.8.1 Limitation

The study was limited to only three out of nine industries operating within Uyo geographical area and which were presumed to be perfect representation of all the facts about PPE utilization in the industry in Kenya. Also, obtaining information from the workers was interrupted by the busy working environment and fear of disclosure of sensitive or unauthorized information. The respondents’ education levels in this industry also presented some challenges in understanding some questions and hence some of the participants did not respond to all the questions. For these occurrences, some data collection tools such as focus group discussions and key informant interview guide emerged to be unfeasible for the study.

1.8.2 Delimitation

In this study, data collection tools triangulation between observations, self and researcher administered questionnaires were applied to enhance response rate, validity and reliability of the collected data. This helped to counter the above limitations and hence generalizations of this study findings. Both quantitative and qualitative data was also collected with more questionnaires administered for longer period than initially planned so as to yield the targeted responses.

1.9 Conceptual Framework

The study assessed the relationship between the independent variables, intervening variables and the dependent variable; the conceptual framework was adopted and modified from Truong et al. (2009). The independent variables were the Socio- Demographic Characteristics; Age, gender, marital status, education level and length of service, the common types of self reported occupational injuries and illnesses; cuts, burns, abrasions, fractures and punctures, and the factors influencing utilization of PPE; availability, acceptability, comfort, fitness, attractive, hot to use among others.  Intervening variable explains how or why the independent variable affects the dependent variable. In this study training and awareness were expected to influence the relationship between the independent and dependent variables. The depended variable was Utilization of PPE as shown in figure 1.1 below.

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