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Evaluation of occupational exposure of carpet weavers in northern province of Madhya Pradesh (India) during different seasons.

Wani KA, Khan R - Indian J Occup Environ Med (2015 May-Aug)

Bottom Line: Noise level, light intensity, temperature and humidity were measured with the help of sound level meter, lux meter and thermohygrometer, respectively at the workplace and the result were subjected to One Way Analysis of Variance.The majority of these weavers were suffering from eye irritation, back pain, allergies, general weakness, hearing loss, with most workers having three to five of these health problems.Our study reported higher incidence of musculoskeletal and respiratory diseases among weavers, during different season.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Environmental Science, ITM University, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India.

ABSTRACT

Objectives: We investigated general working conditions in the carpet manufacturing industry and assessed the health risk factors of weavers working in this industry.

Materials and methods: Noise level, light intensity, temperature and humidity were measured with the help of sound level meter, lux meter and thermohygrometer, respectively at the workplace and the result were subjected to One Way Analysis of Variance. A pretested questionnaire was used to evaluate the health problems among different weavers working in the carpet industry.

Results: Results indicated that the weavers in these units were exposed to extreme environmental conditions. The majority of these weavers were suffering from eye irritation, back pain, allergies, general weakness, hearing loss, with most workers having three to five of these health problems. Our study reported higher incidence of musculoskeletal and respiratory diseases among weavers, during different season.

Conclusion: A large variation during different seasons is an indication that environmental conditions play an important role in determining the health of weavers at the workplace. Results clearly demonstrate that working conditions were not suitable for the type of work carried out by the weavers.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Weavers working with awkward postures
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Figure 1: Weavers working with awkward postures

Mentions: The present work shows that poor working conditions and occupational problems prevail in the carpet industry in Gwalior. The majority of the occupational problems are due to poor working environment of the workplace, and this study revealed that the workers questioned suffer from three to five different health problems. Accidents are also common, but no protective measures have been taken so far to minimize such incidents, use of personal protective equipment has been almost negligible at these units. Moreover, the workers have never received training of any type to update their technical skill: Both male and female workers with no primary education are employed in these units. The data presented reveal that the majority of the respondents were in financial stress due to low monthly income. Most of the workers were engaged in this profession from last 10 years or above. Respondents indicated that heavy economic stress, escalating prices, low literacy rate and unavailability of alternate professions, forces them to do this job under severe environmental conditions. The workers further reported that they had been never visited by the health department to check their ailments. Many of the physical examination findings were statistically correlated among different age groups. The health findings are consistent with the earlier observation about the ergonomics of traditional looms[22] and the insufficient ventilation and lighting.[23] Carpets weaving under high-temperature and high-humidity or strenuous physical activities have a high potential for inducing heat stress to the workers. High relative humidity may cause some physical disorder [Table 9], relative humidity of the air directly affects temperature perception.[24] Our study also revealed that these health discrepancies demonstrate low lighting conditions, unsuitable temperature and humidity, high fungal contamination, in home-based workplaces. Highly significant difference was observed in eye irritation and skin allergy among different age groups at the workplace. Heat is continuously produced by bodily processes and dissipated in an automatically regulated manner to maintain the body temperature at its correct level of physiology. The experience of comfort is the achievement of thermal equilibrium with the minimum amount of body regulation. Extremely low (below 20%) relative humidity may also cause eye irritation[2526] and moderate to high levels of humidity have been shown to reduce the severity of asthma.[27] Moreover, due to low and high-temperature weavers adopt different harmful postures to retain and lose heat from their body that develops constriction of back muscles [Figure 1]. This may lead to poor circulation of blood to the worker's legs which may develop into back pain and joint pain among the workers during different seasons. The type of loom, where weavers are weaving contributes in developing MSD such as neck, shoulders, and legs.[28] The questionnaire showed that musculoskeletal symptoms were common among weavers. This indicates that the carpet can be considered as a high-risk occupation for developing musculoskeletal disorders.[29] The workers within the carpet industry in Gwalior are also exposed to low level of light as compared with the standard mentioned in earlier reports. The poor level of illumination is very unhealthy for the type of work, which is performed by carpet-weavers. The high prevalence of eye irritation and headache among the carpet-weavers may be also due to the low level of illumination at the workplace during winter. Young weavers are a pressing health issue in the carpet industry of Gwalior. The higher risk in young workers is well known.[303132333435] The injuries investigated were mainly due to an imbalance, handling/carrying objects, physical exertion, handling tools, pain caused by performing. The observed humidity and temperature at the workplace were beyond the limit's sets by ASHRAE. The high humidity at the carpet units may cause different symptoms among the weavers. They get tired sooner at higher temperature and high humidity, which decrease their work performance and hence productivity. The high humidity of the workplace is responsible for the growth of fungi like Aspergillus that may cause skin allergies and eye irritation among the workers. On the other hand, the unhygienic condition prevailing in the carpet units may add the already existing problems. Other species such as A. niger, Aspergillus parasiticus, A. fumigatus [Figure 2] and A flavus also bear great importance in terms of possible health effects viz., hay fever, asthma, coughing, sneezing among the weavers.[363738] A. terreus [Figure 3] may cause opportunistic infection in carpet industry weavers with deficient immune systems, but may also cause disease in immunocompetent individuals, and P. citrinum [Figure 4] cause keratitis, ear infections, pneumonia and urinary tract infections. Only a few workers reported the problems of hearing loss in our study. The noise intensity at the workplace was well within the limits set by CPCB India. The few cases of hearing loss at the workplace may be due to the presence of fungi A. niger, which produces fungal balls known as aspergilloma. The present study showed that there was a high rate of poor working conditions and musculoskeletal problems for the Gwalior carpet industry. In conclusion, our study reported high prevalence of respiratory and musculoskeletal diseases among the carpet-weavers of Gwalior that were similar or lower than that previous reported in such a type of similar studies. Our study indicated that people working in extreme cold environment are more prone to various occupational diseases as compared to people who work in the temperate environment. Further research is required to build up effective preventative or ergonomic strategies that may be applied to the carpet industry to decrease the incidence of occupational diseases. The main cause for musculoskeletal symptom in carpet-weaving in Gwalior is self-designed weaving workstations and poor lighting conditions. Therefore, interventions toward designing ergonomic weaving workstations and carpet-weaving hand tools should also be regarded as a main concern for improving the situation for workers in the carpet-weaving industry. Therefore, there is an immediate need for government cooperation to provide a safer environment and proper ergonomics for weavers in the carpet industry of Gwalior. There must be some provisions to use masks, earplugs, first aid facilities and proper uniform as personal protective equipment that may reduce the burden of diseases among workers.


Evaluation of occupational exposure of carpet weavers in northern province of Madhya Pradesh (India) during different seasons.

Wani KA, Khan R - Indian J Occup Environ Med (2015 May-Aug)

Weavers working with awkward postures
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4596069&req=5

Figure 1: Weavers working with awkward postures
Mentions: The present work shows that poor working conditions and occupational problems prevail in the carpet industry in Gwalior. The majority of the occupational problems are due to poor working environment of the workplace, and this study revealed that the workers questioned suffer from three to five different health problems. Accidents are also common, but no protective measures have been taken so far to minimize such incidents, use of personal protective equipment has been almost negligible at these units. Moreover, the workers have never received training of any type to update their technical skill: Both male and female workers with no primary education are employed in these units. The data presented reveal that the majority of the respondents were in financial stress due to low monthly income. Most of the workers were engaged in this profession from last 10 years or above. Respondents indicated that heavy economic stress, escalating prices, low literacy rate and unavailability of alternate professions, forces them to do this job under severe environmental conditions. The workers further reported that they had been never visited by the health department to check their ailments. Many of the physical examination findings were statistically correlated among different age groups. The health findings are consistent with the earlier observation about the ergonomics of traditional looms[22] and the insufficient ventilation and lighting.[23] Carpets weaving under high-temperature and high-humidity or strenuous physical activities have a high potential for inducing heat stress to the workers. High relative humidity may cause some physical disorder [Table 9], relative humidity of the air directly affects temperature perception.[24] Our study also revealed that these health discrepancies demonstrate low lighting conditions, unsuitable temperature and humidity, high fungal contamination, in home-based workplaces. Highly significant difference was observed in eye irritation and skin allergy among different age groups at the workplace. Heat is continuously produced by bodily processes and dissipated in an automatically regulated manner to maintain the body temperature at its correct level of physiology. The experience of comfort is the achievement of thermal equilibrium with the minimum amount of body regulation. Extremely low (below 20%) relative humidity may also cause eye irritation[2526] and moderate to high levels of humidity have been shown to reduce the severity of asthma.[27] Moreover, due to low and high-temperature weavers adopt different harmful postures to retain and lose heat from their body that develops constriction of back muscles [Figure 1]. This may lead to poor circulation of blood to the worker's legs which may develop into back pain and joint pain among the workers during different seasons. The type of loom, where weavers are weaving contributes in developing MSD such as neck, shoulders, and legs.[28] The questionnaire showed that musculoskeletal symptoms were common among weavers. This indicates that the carpet can be considered as a high-risk occupation for developing musculoskeletal disorders.[29] The workers within the carpet industry in Gwalior are also exposed to low level of light as compared with the standard mentioned in earlier reports. The poor level of illumination is very unhealthy for the type of work, which is performed by carpet-weavers. The high prevalence of eye irritation and headache among the carpet-weavers may be also due to the low level of illumination at the workplace during winter. Young weavers are a pressing health issue in the carpet industry of Gwalior. The higher risk in young workers is well known.[303132333435] The injuries investigated were mainly due to an imbalance, handling/carrying objects, physical exertion, handling tools, pain caused by performing. The observed humidity and temperature at the workplace were beyond the limit's sets by ASHRAE. The high humidity at the carpet units may cause different symptoms among the weavers. They get tired sooner at higher temperature and high humidity, which decrease their work performance and hence productivity. The high humidity of the workplace is responsible for the growth of fungi like Aspergillus that may cause skin allergies and eye irritation among the workers. On the other hand, the unhygienic condition prevailing in the carpet units may add the already existing problems. Other species such as A. niger, Aspergillus parasiticus, A. fumigatus [Figure 2] and A flavus also bear great importance in terms of possible health effects viz., hay fever, asthma, coughing, sneezing among the weavers.[363738] A. terreus [Figure 3] may cause opportunistic infection in carpet industry weavers with deficient immune systems, but may also cause disease in immunocompetent individuals, and P. citrinum [Figure 4] cause keratitis, ear infections, pneumonia and urinary tract infections. Only a few workers reported the problems of hearing loss in our study. The noise intensity at the workplace was well within the limits set by CPCB India. The few cases of hearing loss at the workplace may be due to the presence of fungi A. niger, which produces fungal balls known as aspergilloma. The present study showed that there was a high rate of poor working conditions and musculoskeletal problems for the Gwalior carpet industry. In conclusion, our study reported high prevalence of respiratory and musculoskeletal diseases among the carpet-weavers of Gwalior that were similar or lower than that previous reported in such a type of similar studies. Our study indicated that people working in extreme cold environment are more prone to various occupational diseases as compared to people who work in the temperate environment. Further research is required to build up effective preventative or ergonomic strategies that may be applied to the carpet industry to decrease the incidence of occupational diseases. The main cause for musculoskeletal symptom in carpet-weaving in Gwalior is self-designed weaving workstations and poor lighting conditions. Therefore, interventions toward designing ergonomic weaving workstations and carpet-weaving hand tools should also be regarded as a main concern for improving the situation for workers in the carpet-weaving industry. Therefore, there is an immediate need for government cooperation to provide a safer environment and proper ergonomics for weavers in the carpet industry of Gwalior. There must be some provisions to use masks, earplugs, first aid facilities and proper uniform as personal protective equipment that may reduce the burden of diseases among workers.

Bottom Line: Noise level, light intensity, temperature and humidity were measured with the help of sound level meter, lux meter and thermohygrometer, respectively at the workplace and the result were subjected to One Way Analysis of Variance.The majority of these weavers were suffering from eye irritation, back pain, allergies, general weakness, hearing loss, with most workers having three to five of these health problems.Our study reported higher incidence of musculoskeletal and respiratory diseases among weavers, during different season.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Environmental Science, ITM University, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India.

ABSTRACT

Objectives: We investigated general working conditions in the carpet manufacturing industry and assessed the health risk factors of weavers working in this industry.

Materials and methods: Noise level, light intensity, temperature and humidity were measured with the help of sound level meter, lux meter and thermohygrometer, respectively at the workplace and the result were subjected to One Way Analysis of Variance. A pretested questionnaire was used to evaluate the health problems among different weavers working in the carpet industry.

Results: Results indicated that the weavers in these units were exposed to extreme environmental conditions. The majority of these weavers were suffering from eye irritation, back pain, allergies, general weakness, hearing loss, with most workers having three to five of these health problems. Our study reported higher incidence of musculoskeletal and respiratory diseases among weavers, during different season.

Conclusion: A large variation during different seasons is an indication that environmental conditions play an important role in determining the health of weavers at the workplace. Results clearly demonstrate that working conditions were not suitable for the type of work carried out by the weavers.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus