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Sickness Absenteeism, Morbidity and Workplace Injuries among Iron and Steel workers – A Cross Sectional Study from Karnataka, Southern India

Author(s): Manjunatha R | Kiran D | Thankappan K R

Journal: Australasian Medical Journal
ISSN 1836-1935

Volume: 4;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 144;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Sickness absence | industrial workers | Karnataka | morbidity

BackgroundThe study of illnesses causing absence of workers from workin industries is a practical method to study the health statusof industrial workers and to identify occupational healthhazards. The iron and steel industries are particularlyhazardous places of work. Published data from India onhealth status of iron and steel workers is limited, thereforethis study was undertaken to investigate the sicknessabsenteeism, morbidity and workplace injuries among thispopulation.MethodWorkers were selected using stratified random sampling. Astructured pre-tested interview schedule was used tocollect the data. A p value of < 0.05 was considered forstatistical significance.ResultsFrom a total of 2525 workers, 353 (mean age 55.1 yrs, male69.4%) participated in the study. The overall proportion ofsickness absenteeism was 66.9% (95% CI: 0.62 – 0.71).Overall 16.4 days were lost per worker per year (male = 16.5& female = 16.2) due to sickness absence. A blue collarworker lost 21.5 days compared to 11.9 days by a whitecollar worker (p < 0.01). Among workers, health ailmentsrelated to the musculoskeletal system (31.4%),gastrointestinal system (25.8%), hypertension (24.4%),respiratory system (18.1%) and other minor ailments(19.3%) were found to be high.ConclusionSickness absenteeism is significantly higher among iron andsteel workers when compared to other occupations in India.Blue collar workers and shift workers loose higher numberof days due to sickness absence, and they face problemsrelated to musculoskeletal system, gastrointestinal systemand hypertension in higher proportions compared to theircounterparts. Women experienced hypertension as thecommon health problem and higher proportions of injuriesoutside the work environment.
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